PM asks farmers to be ‘responsible’

Prime Minister George Papandreou yesterday appealed to protesting farmers to end road and border crossing blockades that have caused transport disruption and diplomatic tension, asking them to display «joint participation and joint responsibility» in the government’s effort to resuscitate the reeling national economy. «We have absolutely no scope to satisfy the various financial demands that are being made out of the blue,» Papandreou told Parliament. «If we did so, it would be a criminal act against our country and our people,» he added, responding to opposition criticism of the government’s handling of the farmers’ action, which entered its eighth day yesterday. Earlier, unionists representing the farmers met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on the Bulgarian side of the Promachonas border crossing to explain their grievances. The unusual meeting was reportedly organized after Borisov responded to a request by the farmers. Papandreou and Borisov had spoken on the telephone earlier and the Greek premier said that the meeting could go ahead as long as it was on Bulgarian territory. Following their 10-minute talks with Borisov, the farmers lifted their blockade at Promachonas and let waiting trucks cross until 10 p.m. Elsewhere, Greek farmers stood their ground, maintaining around 25 blockades. Opposition parties yesterday gave different assessments of the farmers’ action. Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said: «It is better for our roads to be closed than for our farmers to lose their livelihoods.» The leader of the far-right Popular Orthodox Rally Giorgos Karatzaferis described farming cooperatives as «a source of corruption.»

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