European Union expels Russian and Belarusian trucks from its roads
After the week-long transition period, the European Commission has finally prohibited the road hauliers from Russia and Belarus to move freight on the European roads. However, there are some exemptions for those companies that still allow them to cross the EU border.
Starting from 16 April, the road hauling operators from Russia and Belarus are forbidden to carry freight within the European Union. A full ban was implemented after the week-long transition period that lasted from 9 to 15 April inclusive. The new ban is a part of the so-called Fifth package of sanctions against Russia, which invaded Ukraine in late February, and Belarus, which supports the hostilities of its neighbour. “The EU stands united in its solidarity with Ukraine and will continue to support Ukraine and its people together with its international partners, including through additional political, financial and humanitarian support,” the European Commission stated. At the same time, the imposed ban is not absolute and it has some particular exemptions for both countries.
Exemptions for Russia
In the case of Russia, there are two exemptions from the ban: the parcel delivery under the universal service and the road freight transport between mainland Russia and the enclave region of Kaliningrad via the EU territory. The second exemption is allowed only when the transport of such goods is not otherwise prohibited.
Moreover, the competent authorities of the Member State may authorise a road transport operator from Russia to move goods via its territory if they have determined that such transport is necessary:
- for the purchase, import or transport into the EU of natural gas and oil, including refined petroleum products, as well as titanium, aluminium, copper, nickel, palladium and iron ore;
- for the purchase, import or transport of pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, including wheat, as well as fertilisers, the import, purchase and transport of which is allowed in accordance with the regulation;
- for humanitarian purposes;
- for the operation of EU and Member States’ diplomatic and consular representations in Russia, including delegations, embassies and missions, or international organisations in Russia enjoying immunities in accordance with international law;
- for the transfer or export of cultural goods to Russia, which are subject to loan in the context of formal cultural cooperation with Russia.
Exemptions for Belarus
Regarding Belarus, there are exceptions similar to those for Russia, such as parcel delivery, etc. However, each EU Member State may authorise the road haulier from Belarus for carrying goods to or via its territory if the competent body determines that such carriage is necessary for:
- the purchase, import or transport to the EU of natural gas and oil, including refined petroleum products, as well as titanium, aluminium, copper, nickel, palladium and iron ore;
- purchase, import or transport of pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, including wheat; or for humanitarian purposes;
- the operation of diplomatic and consular representations of the European Union and its Member States in Belarus, including delegations, embassies and missions, or international organizations in Belarus enjoying immunities in accordance with international law.