Lithuanian officials continue to support initiatives and take political steps that worsen the situation in the European region and lead to deterioration of relations with neighboring states. Such official steps and statements influence not only international relations but also impact local population.
Growing queues at the Belarusian border are exemplary in this regard. Thus, it has become known that nearly 2,000 trucks piled up at the exit from Lithuania to Belarus. Some time ago Lithuania unilaterally terminated cooperation with the Belarusian customs and border agencies on the smooth operation of the border.
According to latest data, drivers wait 3-4 days for the opportunity to cross the border. 61 hours waiting was predicted for truck drivers at the Medininkai border crossing, 47 hours – at the Raigard border control point. Meanwhile, in Šalčininkai – 43 hours, and in Lavoriškės, where there is no waiting area for drivers, the situation is the best – 13 hours. The situation is complicated pretty much all the time. The points themselves are not suitable for such large flows. The road infrastructure is suffering, and the roadsides are heavily littered with rubbish. Residents and tourists in Druskininkai experience inconvenience and shame. Mountains of garbage and damaged roadsides spoil the image of the resort. Truck drivers are also in need of utilities as the town’s population suffers. According to Diana Sinkevičiūtė-Greže, chief specialist of the Druskininkai Municipality, “there are two ambulances. If they go out to help drivers, then community members and guests have to wait for life-saving assistance. Traffic safety suffers. Road workers say they don’t have time to pick up trash, clear roadsides and rest areas.”
In addition to previous steps, Lithuania tightens control over excisable goods if they are exported to third countries through the territory of Belarus or Russia. Tougher measures took effect from June 5, the press service of the Lithuanian customs reported.
Customs requires additional evidence that the goods will not be sold on Belarusian or Russian territory, that they will not be reloaded. Also, customs officers require evidence that the services of persons who are subject to sanctions are not used. If customs considers that there is not enough evidence, the goods will not be released from the territory of the European Union.
Thus, long queues are mainly caused by political decisions. Customs checks now take a lot of time due to international matters, sanctions, etc. This is the main reason why such traffic jams occur.
Paradoxically, Lithuanian business, as well as citizens face threats not from abroad but from Lithuanian government.