Borissov amid the snow crisis: I promise everyone will reach their destination for New Year’s Eve

Written by on December 31, 2016 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Borissov amid the snow crisis: I promise everyone will reach their destination for New Year’s Eve

“I promise everyone will greet the New Year wherever they’re heading,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov wrote on Facebook on December 31, as he visited eastern parts of the country where heavy snowfalls and high winds, as well as a serious chain collision, had left hundreds of motorists stranded.

Military, police and firefighters worked from the early hours on New Year’s Eve to evacuate people stranded in their cars and to pull various vehicles – lorries, buses and cars – out of snowdrifts.

Borissov, visiting the Aitos area, said that “more than this could not be done” – spreading sand on the roads, clearing snow, with hundreds of tractors, military tanks and snow-clearing machines out in force.

“We were acquainted with the situation last night,” said Borissov, who summoned a crisis staff meeting overnight.

“Nature is stronger than humankind. Speaking of climate change, now it has become clear to all of them what the world will be in coming years,” he said, adding that the firefighters and police had behaved heroically in assisting people hit by the blizzard.

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Borissov insisted that the situation could not have been avoided.

“Why don’t they avoid it in America, in Europe or elsewhere? How can it be avoided? A 120km/h wind – at the moment (the road) is cleaned, look what happens,” he said.

Borissov said that the authorities were releasing information updates every 30 minutes.

He defended not having closed the Trakiya Motorway the night before, saying that had this been done, a traffic jam would have been formed all the way back to Sofia.

Borissov lashed out at the lorry drivers who embarked on roads in spite of a ban on using them. “I don’t know what this impudence is. A 50 leva fine, they pay it and move on. A kilometre later, we have to go to pull them out again”.

In a last gasp of politicking on New Years’ Eve, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party criticised the government’s performance in dealing with the road situation, blaming President Rossen Plevneliev for leaving the Borissov administration in place instead of appointing a caretaker government after the resignation of Borissov and the failure to come up with a new elected government.

Borissov’s GERB party dismissed the BSP statement as cheap populism, while local media quoted Toma Bikov, adviser to Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova, as saying that the BSP position appeared to have been written “at the dining table between the third and fourth rakiya”. The police and army had been in the field for 24 hours and did not deserve this, he said.

/Politics

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