Bulgarian Cabinet Firm on Not Surrendering to Farmers

Domestic | December 6, 2011, Tuesday // 18:13|  views

Tens of thousands of grain producers took on Sofia's streets in protest against the cabinet's policy in the sector. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, refused to meet Tuesday with protesting grain producers, who spent over an hour in front of the Council of Ministries building.

They insisted on a meeting with Borisov and his Deputy, Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, but did not get a positive response.

Meanwhile, the demonstrators, represented by the National Grain Producers Association, were invited to meet with Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, but declined the invitation on the grounds he is not authorized to sign any decisions.

The Association's Chair says - one the invitation came too late and two – people have trust only in Borisov's words.

The grain producers demand adherence to the financial agreement signed by the cabinet in September, immediate lift on excise on fuel they use and Djankov's and Naydenov's resignations. They vowed to stage a new protest Wednesday. Their permit expires at 10 pm the same day, when they have to leave the city.

Meanwhile, Naydenov confirmed that the cabinet remains unwavering in not giving in to the grain producers in their demands for more funding, saying he favored their sector for a long time, and now is "enjoying the results of it."

"They will receive what is slated in the budget – this is what we can do now; I wish it was more too. If we show weakness and yield to the pressure – we will have a domino effect," the Minister stressed.

He appealed to the protesting farmers to act reasonably and stop the rallies, saying as a citizen and father, he wants Bulgarians to have on the table not only grain, but meat, fruits and vegetables.

Naydenov explained that the Association of Grain Producers first asked to meet at 9 am; then said it was too early and asked for 11 am, and then changed it to 2 pm, and finally were the only ones from the farming sector, who failed to show up.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the European Commission has approved the notification for the reduced excise duty rate for fuel used for agricultural purposes.

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