Date: 1 December 2021 Author: Mariusz Patey

Poland-Ukraine – a common cause?

Although the two countries seem to share a number of common economic and political interests, the synergy of cooperation in many important areas is still not being exploited. Polish-Ukrainian trade, although growing year on year (mainly due to the activity of SMEs), has not reached its peak.

SOURCE: KPRP

The countries are not taking advantage of their location by not connecting their transport infrastructures. The EAKTR project (oil transmission), common gas storage infrastructure, electricity and ICT connections are still to be implemented. Together Poland and Ukraine can control land trade between the East and the West and form an important transport corridor between the South and the North. Only by building infrastructure links will the whole ecosystem of Ukrainian business linked to the Polish market be activated. This will also be reflected in closer political cooperation.

Polish state-owned enterprises remain passive and prefer to limit their activities to business partners who have been proven over the years. In the case of the refinery sector, these are still largely Russian partners. Oil supply diversification projects fail to take into account the potential of cooperation with Georgia and Ukraine. From the broader perspective of national and regional interests, this is a pity.

This passive stance on the part of large Polish businesses means that Ukrainian politicians do not perceive Poland as a country which could bring significant value to the Ukrainian economy. This also translates into a lack of vision for deeper Polish-Ukrainian cooperation. At the same time, it cannot be said that bilateral relations are bad. Apart from the historical conflict of memory, which cannot yet be resolved, political cooperation is going well.

Poland, which has an economy twice the size of Ukraine’s, could, through its economic activity, not only strengthen its own position, but also strengthen Ukrainian circles which pursue a pro-European vision of the country. Many activities can be carried out without the involvement of our EU and NATO partners. O Unburdening them in the east would even be welcomed with relief. Polish decision-makers are aware of the need for an active policy towards Eastern European countries, unfortunately there is not enough awareness that the key to success lies in economics, not gesture politics. The situation in Ukraine is still dynamic. One thing is certain, our passive stance is not a virtue and it may cost us dearly in the future.

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