Bulgarian Road Carriers Threaten to Block Border with Greece Permanently

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | February 24, 2016, Wednesday // 17:29
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Road Carriers Threaten to Block Border with Greece Permanently

Bulgarian road carriers on Wednesday said they will set up a permanent "counter-blockade" on the border with Greece unless farmers on the other side of the border end their protest.

Their announcement was made by Bulgaria's Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski in a press conference at the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing.

"We will make sure that the ones suffering are those who have caused us the same infliction," Focus News Agency quoted him as saying.
Drivers of commercial transit trucks are standing ready to renew their counter-blockade, according to Moskovski will only affect haulage vehicles initially.

Greek farmers have been blocking intermittently traffic both ways across two key checkpoints (Kulata-Promachonas and Ilinden-Exochi) at the common border for a month, demanding that the government in Athens review its plans for changing social insurance and taxation laws.

With haulage services in Bulgaria and elsewhere incurring losses from the blockade which has resulted in kilometers-long queues of trucks carrying goods across the borders, Bulgarian drivers last week decided to stage a "counter-blockade" at all checkpoints, which however was lifted over the weekend. The reasons cited were the agreement by farmers to temporarily lift their blockade and supposed comments in Europe that Bulgaria was responsible for trouble at the border.

The Chair of the National Association of Bulgarian Road Carriers, Mirolyub Stolarski, who also took part in the press conference, added carriers are also considering an extension of the blockade to the Bulgaria-Macedonia border to make sure all transit traffic is affected.

Drivers are now determined to go on with the  counter-blockade and possibly keep it on Easter unless their demands are heard.

Stolarski also told reporters there will be intermittent blockades throughout the summer in the wors case scenario, and between July 15 and August 20 it will be possible to make it through the border only  for five hours a day if the issue is not settled.


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