Prosecutor orders farmers’ blockades cleared, as Bulgarian truckers warn of action

Prosecutor orders farmers’ blockades cleared, as Bulgarian truckers warn of action

Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani on Wednesday ordered judicial authorities around Greece to take firm action against farmers persisting with road blockades in protest at planned social security and tax reforms.

Koutzamani noted that preventing the free movement of goods and people is an offense punishable by law. “I consider it my responsibility to remind you of your duty to intervene, with the support of police authorities,” Koutzamani wrote in the circular.

Her order came after more than a month of widespread blockades by disgruntled farmers at toll stations and other key junctions on the national road network and customs crossings at Greece’s northern border, which have not only affected commuters and the intercity bus services but also the trucking sector, with queues of cargo trucks on either side of the Greek-Bulgarian border reaching up to 20 kilometers long.

In a related development, Bulgarian Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski on Wednesday warned the Greek government of counteractions. “If the Greek side does not find some way of solving this crisis by Monday, Bulgarian truck drivers will, in retaliation, begin to block the entire length of the Bulgarian-Greek border,” he said.

“We will block not just farming produce coming in and out of Bulgaria but also agricultural supplies moved through Bulgaria,” the head of the country’s truckers’ association, Miroljub Stolarski, warned.

Bulgarian authorities estimate losses from the Greek farmers’ action at more than 10 million euros so far. Should truckers in the neighboring country go through with their threats, this could affect basic supplies to Greek supermarkets and other stores.

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