Truck Drivers Extend Counter-Blockade to Fifth Bulgarian-Greek Border Checkpoint

Southeast Europe | February 19, 2016, Friday // 09:03|  views

Photo: BGNES

Bulgarian truck drivers have extended the counter-blockade to a fifth checkpoint on the border with Greece on Friday, leaving only one crossing open to cars and minibuses.

The passage of traffic through the Zlatograd checkpoint was suspended at 9 a.m. (EET) on Friday, the interior ministry informs.

The Kulata, Ilinden, Kapitan Petko Voyvoda and Makaza crossings were closed to traffic earlier in the week.

The drivers are still considering whether to completely close the border by staging a counter-blockade on the last remaining checkpoint Ivaylovgrad.

Having lost confidence in Greek farmers, they are not willing to make compromises and are insisting on Athens to take measures on ending the blockade.

The drivers have started discussing possibilities of closing the border at Easter and the summer when Greece heavily relies on tourists.

According to estimates, Bulgarian drivers have incurred losses exceeding EUR 10 M.

Tensions have been running high at the border in the past four weeks as Greek farmers have been staging blockades in protest against proposed increases to tax and pension contributions.

On Tuesday, Bulgarian truck drivers staged a counter-blockade after the Greek farmers had failed to keep up to their promise and temporary lift the blockade at certain hours each day in order to avoid the queuing up of trucks.

Since then, Bulgarian drivers have gradually extended the counter-blockade along the border, with only two checkpoints remaining open on Thursday.

Bulgarian authorities have repeatedly called on Greek officials and the European Commission to take measures against the protesting farmers as it is violating founding principles of the EU such as the free movement of people and goods.

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Tags: Bulgaria, greece, border, checkpoint, blockade, trucks, farmers, protest, EU, Kulata, Ilinden, Makaza, Kapitan Petkov Voyvoda, Ivaylovgrad, Zlatograd, crossing


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