Blockades again close Bulgaria – Greece border checkpoints

The Ilinden – Exochi border checkpoint between Bulgaria and Greece was closed to vehicle traffic in both directions on the morning of February 24, while the Kulata – Promachonas checkpoint was closed to commercial vehicles, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry said.

The ministry said that according to preliminary information, Kulata would be closed from 10am to 5pm to all vehicles.

Motorists using the Makaza checkpoint should take note that about 20km inside Greece, on the main road to Komotini, there was a road blockade that would last up to 10pm, the ministry said.

A blockade by Greek farmers of lorries at Kulata was reimposed on the afternoon of February 23, followed by a counter-blockade by Bulgarian lorry drivers. According to a report by Bulgarian National Radio, tensions at the border escalated again after a Greek driver passed the border and “lightly struck” a Bulgarian driver.

The reimposition of the blockade by Greek farmers protesting against pension system reform was expected because of the dissatisfaction of farmers from Serres, Thessaloniki and Larissa who announced that talks with Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras had failed.

Talks among Bulgarian lorry drivers on the afternoon of February 23 resulted in a decision to mount their counter-blockade until Greek farmers allowed lorries to pass the border checkpoints.

Earlier in the day, Greek farmers at Promachonas said that they had no intention of suspending their protests and withdrawing their agricultural equipment from the border. They were expected to mount periodic schedules for allowing trucks to pass.

BNR reported the Bulgarian lorry drivers as saying that no one could protect their rights and business with Greece which, they said, was being run by the farmers and those behind the crisis.



The Sofia Globe staff

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