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 Greek farmers preparing to block border crossing points with Bulgaria

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PostSubject: Greek farmers preparing to block border crossing points with Bulgaria   Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:49 pm

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[size=75:wvjt0fbj]Sofia echo 14 January 2010

Greek farmers preparing to block border crossing points with Bulgaria

Greek farmers are set to block all three border crossing points with Bulgaria in a protest meant to last five days, Bulgarian and Greek media have reported. Initially, the strike action was supposed to go into effect on January 15 2010.

However, Greek trade unions later said that the final decision on the issue would be taken on January 18.

Concerning the protest, Bulgaria's Transport Ministry asked the Foreign Ministry to contact Greek authorities and "
ensure that a free corridor would be left out for all Bulgarian vehicles,"
Dnevnik daily reported on January 14.

As part of the request, the Bulgarian side acknowledged the right of the Greek farmers to protest and voice their discontent but only if that "
does not violate the basic rights and interests of other European Union member states"
.

If its request was not granted, Bulgaria was ready to take the issue with the European Commission, Dnevnik reported.

Bulgarian business is likely to be affected, especially lorries carrying goods that need refrigeration and other special treatment.

Earlier on January 14, Bulgarian media reported that Bulgarian border police reportedly received a tip-off from police chiefs in Northern Greece that farmers could blockade the border checkpoints as early as January 15 as part of a concerted effort to block vital motorways in the country.

Greek farmers, protesting over subsidies, fear that the strike would be declared illegal and the farmers would be arrested if they proceed with their plans, reports said.

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PostSubject: Greek farmers preparing to block border crossing points with Bulgaria   Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:06 pm

[size=75:1e7vl1fk]Sofia echo 24 January 2010

Border blockades, winter weather disrupt travel in Bulgaria

Travel in several parts of Bulgaria was an unpredictable if not impossible business on the weekend of January 23 and 24 2010 with on-again, off-again blockades at the border with Greece and with heavy snowfalls disrupting motoring in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

On the morning of January 24, Bulgaria’s border police said that all checkpoints on the Bulgarian-Greek border were open and traffic was flowing without queues. However, it blockades by protesting Greek farmers, who had not quit the scene, resumed later on January 24.

The Ilinden border crossing was closing from 8pm on January 24 and it was not known when it would re-open. The Kulata - Promachonas and Kapitan Petko Voivoda checkpoints also were reported to be closed.

The intervention by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, who went by helicopter to the border with Greece on January 22 to urge the protesting farmers to lift the blockade, appeared to have produced only a temporary solution as there were further closures on January 23.

Bulgarian news agency BTA said that on January 23, Greek farmers again blocked the Promachonas border checkpoint and stopped traffic of vehicles through the Koulata checkpoint.

Koulata-Promachonas was opened at 2:55 pm, but only for cars, buses and vans, the Interior Ministry said, quoting Border Police. The ban on trucks remained.

Borissov said on January 23 that he had told the Greek farmers that Bulgaria’s authorities did not want to intervene on the basis of saying whether their protest – a demand to get unpaid agricultural subsidies – were justified or not, but Bulgaria did not deserve what was happening to it.

The blockade, which started on January 15, has caused traffic disruptions and huge financial losses to companies in Bulgaria.

Borissov said that he was approaching the European Court of Justice to apply for compensation for Bulgaria.

He rejected comments in the Greek media that his January 22 intervention had been "
undiplomatic"
.

At a meeting in Bansko on January 23 with representatives of hoteliers, restaurateurs and travel agents, Economy Minister Traicho Traikov said that his ministry would support all companies seeking compensation from Greece. The farmers' blockades reportedly are costing Bulgaria's tourism industry about 500 000 euro a day.

At the Bansko meeting, Bulgarian tour companies said that they would seek to make common cause with their Greek counterparts who also were losing out because of the blockades.

Elsewhere, winter weather hit eastern and northern Bulgaria hard.

The plummeting temperatures in the north of the country was reported to have claimed its first victim, with the body of a man who had died of exposure being found in the centre of Shoumen on the morning of January 24.

Bulgarian news agency Focus said on January 24 that states of emergency had been declared in five municipalities in Varna district because of the severe winter conditions: Aksakovo, Valchi Dol, Suvorovo, Byala and Vetrino.

The Civil Protection Service had received 62 calls for assistance overnight, a spokesperson said on January 24. Most were to assist cars stuck on frozen roads or in snowdrifts.

The service said that some of those who attempted to travel had been reckless, including youths who set out on a journey at 3am and others who had been driving with summer tyres.

On the morning of January 24, a number of roads in north-eastern Bulgaria were closed, the Interior Ministry said.

These included the Balchik-Kavarna-Durankulak, Balchik-Albena, Dobrich-Vladimirovo, Karapelit-Tervel, Dobrich-Krushari, Dobrich-Albena;
Dobrich-General Toshevo and all of the second and third class roads in the municipality of Dobrich.

The Staro Oryahovo-Obzor-Sunny Beach road in Eastern Bulgaria was closed, Focus said, and the Bourgas-Karnobat section of Trakiya Highway remained closed.

The Tsarevo-Rezovo road was open, but it was difficult to drive on and might be closed again due to the strong wind and snowdrifts.

Bourgas Airport and the Black Sea city’s port were operating normally on January 24. Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said that Varna port was operating.

In the north-east, serious problems were reported from Silistra, Shoumen and Dobrich. Police had advised motorists not to attempt to use the Silistra-Shoumen road, while in Shoumen, there were few passengers for bus services and fewer people were attempting to drive, after the seriousness of the situation had become clear, BNT said.

Schools and kindergartens in Silistra are to be closed on January 25 and 26.

The weather forecast for Bulgaria's north-east is that in places, temperatures will drop as low as minus 21 degrees Celsius, while Sofia on January 25 was facing a maximum of about -3.

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PostSubject: Greek farmers preparing to block border crossing points with Bulgaria   Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:36 pm

[size=75:2myixhni]novinite 30 January 2010

Tensions Mount at Bulgaria-Greece Border after Latest All Traffic Closure

The protesting Greek farmers continued Saturday the blockade at cross border points between Bulgaria and Greece, despite earlier promises they will be lifted during the weekend.

At 5 pm, Kulata-Promahon closed for all traffic, including tractor-trailers, cars and buses. Earlier during the day only cars and buses were let through. A line of 200 tractor-trailers is reported at the cross border point Saturday evening.

The other 3 crossing points are open for the time being. The Ilinden-Eksohi one was also closed for all traffic during the day, Capitan Petko Voyvoda-Ormenion was closed until noon.

The only fully open border point is the one at Zlatograd, but the road there is not accessible for tractor-trailers.

On Thursday, Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, announced he had received assurances from Athens that Greece will bring an end to the problem by the weekend.

The Bulgarian TV channel bTV reports that tensions at Kulata are mounting and drivers are angry over the long wait. Hundreds of them left for the Greek border upon hearing it will be open during the weekend only to remain stranded there for 48 hours now.

In Greece, where the losses from the blockade are estimated at EUR 0,5 B, the resentment against the demonstrating farmers is also said to be growing.


Not looking good this

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