The flow of cars through the Kulata border checkpoint to Greece is 25 per cent higher than at this time last year, Bulgarian Border Police chief Svetlan Kichikov said on June 30, according to an Interior Ministry statement.
Kichikov was speaking as the final weekend of June 2019 saw queues of cars stretching for kilometres at Kulata, a main crossing point between Bulgaria and Greece.
He said that an “optimal” system of work had been put in place, with Border Police carrying out checks over three lanes.
Cases where a parent is travelling with children, but failing to have a copy of the formal declaration of the other parent’s consent for the children to cross the border, are contributing to delays.
Kichikov said that over the past day, there had been 436 such cases, and this caused delays because staff at the border had to produce the required copy.
A fast-track procedure had been introduced for European Union citizens crossing at Kulata, he said. It was taking about 20 to 25 seconds for an EU citizen to cross the border, and about 40 to 50 seconds if there were children in the car, according to Kikichov.
On the evening of June 29, Bulgarian National Television reported that over the previous 24 hours, more than 10 000 cars had crossed into Greece from Bulgaria.
The morning of June 29 saw a queue four kilometres long at the border, leaving cars and buses waiting for hours.
The situation eased in the afternoon as Border Police sped up the system for crossing the border, the report said.
A separate report said that Bulgarian customers of companies that offered cheap day return trips to Greece, for a price of about 24 leva, complained that in spite of very early morning departures, the delays at the border meant that they could spend little more than six hours on the beach in Greece before having to board the bus for the return journey.