Queues Remain at Bulgaria-Greece Border amid Greek General Strike

Southeast Europe | February 4, 2016, Thursday // 07:56|  views

A farmer walks next to parked tractors blocking a point, on a road that leads to the international airport, during a protest in Koropi, near Athens, Greece, January 29, 2016. EPA/BGNES

Two key border crossings between Bulgaria and Greece are expected to remain closed to traffic on February 04 as Greek farmers are taking part in Thursday's general strike.

As of 06:30 local time (EET) on Thursday, cargo vehicles are not granted passage through either the Ilinden-Exochi or Kulata-Promachonas border crossings. Cars and buses are allowed by protesters to move both ways across the border.

Both on the Bulgarian and Greek sides, kilometers-long queues of commercial trucks have been formed, with volunteers of the Bulgarian Red Cross providing food and water for the drivers. Border police have reported that other checkpoints on the common border are open to all traffic.

On Wednesday Bulgaria sent a letter to the European Commission urging it to take swift action to resolve the issue in the shortest time possible.

Earlier this week, however, Greek Ambassador to Sofia Dimosthenis Stoidis told Bulgarian officials the blockade is unlikely to be lifted before the February 04 strike.

Called by the country's biggest trade unions, the strike is severely disrupting traffic and paralyzing air, sea and land transport. A number of state and municipal institutions, along with schools, will remain shut down for most of Thursday.
For several days in a row Greek farmers have been protesting against pension cuts sought by the country's international creditors as a condition for releasing further financial aid, blocking key highways in the country and border crossings with Bulgaria, but also with other neighboring countries.

Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry has advised citizens who are currently in Greece to avoid crossing venues where rallies are being held.

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Tags: greece, Strike, farmers, pension, Bulgaria, Dimosthenis Stoidis, protest, Kulata-Promachonas, Ilinden-Exochi


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