No Decision for Proceedings against Greece over Border Blockade, EC SaysBulgaria in EU | February 9, 2016, Tuesday // 16:59| views
The European Commission said on Tuesday that the EU law doesn’t give it any powers to take direct action or initiate immediate sanctions with regard to the ongoing blockade of crossings on Greece’s border with Bulgaria by protesting Greek farmers.
“Infringement procedures are set down in the EU treaties and require a standard series of steps before any referral to the European Court. No such decisions have been taken by the Commission,” a spokesperson for the EU executive body told Novinite.com in an e-mailed statement.
The Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said earlier on Tuesday that the European Commission was going to launch proceedings against Greece as tension on both sides of the Bulgarian-Greek border was increasing and was becoming "unacceptable".
“Enforcement on the ground of EU rules is always a matter for the Member States. It is in first instance for the Member States to determine which measures are necessary and proportionate in order to facilitate the free movement of goods in their territory in a given situation,” the Commission said.
The Commission also said that it had been notified by the Greek (28/01) and Bulgarian (03/02) authorities about potential obstacles to the free movement of goods on their border in the context of the so-called Strawberry Regulation.
The regulation provides for an exchange of information between Member States and the European Commission in cases of demonstrations or road works that could negatively affect free movement of goods.
The Commission also that it had asked Greece to report about the current state of play, e.g. place, date, duration, nature and consequences of the actions by the protesting farmers and has been receiving daily updates of the situation on the border.
However, the Commission made clear that “it is in first instance for the Member States to determine which measures are necessary and proportionate in order to facilitate the free movement of goods in their territory in a given situation.”
The Commission also said that “any compensation for the possible losses to operators would be a matter for national courts.”
Bulgarian road hauliers have been losing between EUR 150 and EUR 300 per truck for delayed delivery due to the blockade of the border, according to Bulgarian industry sources.
About 1,200 trucks were stranded on the Bulgarian side of the border at Kulata-Promachonas border crossing. With minimum penalty for one-day delay in delivery usually set at EUR 150 per truck, the combined direct loss for the road transport companies was estimated at EUR 180,000 per day. Delays of three days after the agreed date of delivery could entail losses as high as EUR 300 per truck.
Road transport firms also have to make additional spending on extra fuel needed to keep refrigerators running on trucks carrying perishable goods.
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