Linkevicius: Lithuanians stuck in Germany can't reach train, ferry due to traffic jams

  • 2020-03-17
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Traffic congestion is preventing Lithuanian nationals from reaching a special train and a ferry that are waiting to bring them home from Germany and the situation will not change unless Poland speeds up the flow of traffic through the border, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Tuesday. 

The Lithuanian foreign minister and his Baltic and German counterparts discussed the situation during a video conference meeting earlier on Tuesday.

The foreign ministers agreed to seek a European solution on a humanitarian corridor for people who want to return home, according Linkevicius. 

Under an arrangement approved by the Lithuanian government, drivers of Lithuanian-registered passenger cars, which are not allowed to enter Poland from Germany, are to drive their passengers to Frankfurt's central train station and then head for a ferry in Sassnitz. 

"Everything seems to be technically ready, but physically, people can't get either to the train or to the ferry," the minister told BNS. "Nothing can be done unless the throughput capacity of the Polish border improves." 

Linkevicius said he thanked German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for efforts by German police to control the situation at the border with Poland and for making it possible for Lithuania to arrange the repatriation ferry.

The situation at the Polish-German border escalated after Poland decided not to allow Lithuanian passenger cars to transit through its territory in a convoy. 

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told BNS after a conversation with his Polish counterpart that Warsaw made the decision because of the risks due to drivers' fatigue. 

Lithuanians are allowed to transit through Poland in organized bus convoys. 

The Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian and German foreign ministers also discussed the possibility of cooperating at European level on medical supply purchases, according to Linkevicius.