Sofia during the EU Presidency: Barriers and blockages instead of European pride?

Written by on December 7, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Sofia during the EU Presidency: Barriers and blockages instead of European pride?

Some residents of Sofia are annoyed, 24 days before Bulgaria takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. They are beginning to understand what kind of an experience those six months will be, in the Bulgarian capital.

The Ministry of the Interior just announced blockages of main roads, including those between Sofia Airport and the city centre, the Bulgarian-language publication Sega reported. Deputy Minister of the Interior Krassimir Tsipov said on Wednesday, Boulevard Brussels and Tsarigradsko Chaussee would be blocked at times.

“Citizens will learn from the media, where movement will be restricted”, Tsipov said. He said the blockages would be announced one day in advance.

The fact that the area around the National Palace of Culture (NDK) will be blocked too, was already known. “This does not mean that access to the National Palace of Culture and its adjoining parts will be totally suspended”, Tsipov announced. “But a much stronger police presence will be on site, and checks during events will be performed”, he stated.

The usual evening traffic in Sofia.

The residents of Sofia will also have to expect increased security measures along all major roads, along with a gathering of police forces and checkpoints around the NDK.

Deputy Minister Tsipov also said, his ministry and the other authorities responsible for security during Bulgaria’s EU Presidency would set up a “unified platform” for the exchange of information and video surveillance footage.

Since roads like Tsarigradsko Chaussee are usually crammed during rush hours, even when Bulgaria does not hold the EU Presidency, a substantial worsening of the traffic situation during the first six months of 2018 is a foregone conclusion.

Some Sofia residents had reacted to previous announcements of this kind with irony. “How proud should we be about the EU Presidency, while Sofia will be hell?”, one of them had said.

Photos by Imanuel Marcus.


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