Bulgarian Drivers Extend 'Counter-Blockade' on Greece BorderSoutheast Europe | February 17, 2016, Wednesday // 10:43| views
File photo, BGNES
Bulgarian drivers have sealed off yet another border crossing point on the frontier with Greece, vowing to include more border crossings in what is already called a "counter-blockade".
Kapitan Petko Voyvoda-Ormenion border crossing, on the eastern part of the common border, was closed to all traffic at 08.15 local time, Focus News Agency quotes border police officials as saying.
On its own website, however, the border police directorate warns it cannot provide up-to-date information about traffic at border crossings with Greece "due to the extremely dynamic situation."
The reason is that Greek farmers, who have been protesting for weeks over Athens' plans to introduce new social insurance and tax legislation, are failing to hold on to their promises and lift the blockade for several hours a day in the afternoon to allow commercial transit trucks into or out of Greece.
Kilometers-long queues are formed on both sides of the borders at Kulata-Promachonas and Ilinden-Exochi crossings, the two points where most of the farmers' protest action has been taking place.
At Ilinden-Exochi, no vehicles will be granted passage until 15:00, and cars and buses will be able to move both ways in the two hours to follow.
On Tuesday, as the protests of Greek farmers were well into their fourth week, truck drivers stranded on the Bulgarian side of the border announced they were setting up a "counter-blockade" which began from Kulata (the Bulgarian checkpoint at the Kulata-Promachonas border crossing).
Venting their anger at farmers' refusal to grant passage to transit trucks in compliance with the schedule agreed last week (this should happen between 11:00 and 16:00 local time, EET), drivers said they were planning to extend the blockade to all checkpoints along the border with Greece until the problem is solved.
They argue the government has failed to take appropriate measures to secure and end to the blockade.
The head of an association that brings together unions of transport businesses meanwhile told the Bulgarian National Television on Wednesday that after four weeks of patience the drivers did not want to be mocked anymore by Greek farmers at were determined not to backtrack until the blockade on the other side was over.
Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva is quoted as saying at a meeting of the EU's General Affairs Council in Brussels that Sofia had demanded that the EU Commission help to put an end to the blockade.
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