Bulgarian PM Hopes Greek Farmers Will Not Stage Blockades in Future

Southeast Europe | March 1, 2016, Tuesday // 10:49|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. File photo, BGNES

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov expressed hope that Greek farmers will discontinue their practice of staging blockades at the border with Bulgaria.

Borisov thanked the Greek farmers for lifting the latest blockade even though this was achieved only once Bulgaria had issued an ultimatum.

In the event of a new blockade, the prime minister was firm that Bulgaria will issue an ultimatum to the EU by refusing to participate in meetings of the European Council, daily Dnevnik informs.

Borisov met with protesting farmers on Saturday, warning them that he will boycott the forthcoming EU summit in protest of their actions.

The blockade was lifted on the same day, but according to Greek media, this happened after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who promised the protesters to amend the proposed social security reforms.

Another factor which might have proven decisive in lifting the blockade is that Bulgarian truck drivers had threatened to stage a counter-blockade for an indefinite period of time if the border had not been cleared by Monday.

Greek farmers have been staging blockades at the border with Bulgaria almost each year in February protesting the policies of the government in Athens.

According to estimates of Bulgarian carriers, the losses arising from the latest blockade exceed BGN 10 M.

Greek farmers protesting proposed increases to tax and pension contributions staged blockades at checkpoints along the border with Bulgaria in the past month.

The tensions escalated when Bulgarian truck drivers staged a counter-blockade after the farmers had failed to keep to their promise to lift the blockade at certain hours each day to avoid the queuing of trucks.

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Tags: Bulgaria, greece, border, blockade, checkpoint, Boyko Borisov, Alexis Tsipras, farmers, protest, trucks, EU


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