site.btaInterior Minister Demerdzhiev: Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint Functions Normally

Interior Minister Demerdzhiev: Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint Functions Normally
Interior Minister Demerdzhiev: Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint Functions Normally
Caretaker Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev (BTA Photo)

Caretaker Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev told journalists on Sunday that the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint on the Bulgarian-Turkish border, which he inspected earlier in the day, is now functioning normally. Traffic through the checkpoint is normalizing, especially for refrigerated trucks, which were not handled in a regular manner in recent days. 

He confirmed that the gendarmerie has been dispatched to the checkpoint to prevent an escalationof tensions between the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) and a private contractor for phytosanitary control.

The privatecontractor was hired some ten years ago to check the trucks with farm produce and other foods crossing into Bulgaria and on to Europe from Turkey. The previous government tried to end the contract over suspicions that phytosanitary control had been inadequate, and put BFSA in charge of handling the trucks and doing the laboratory tests – but the court reversed the government decision, bringing about tension between BFSA and theprivate contractor and causing disturbances to traffic.

"The gendarmerie will remain as long as necessary to ensure the normal functioning of the checkpoint," he added.

Demerdzhiev said that comlaints have come in against employees of the private contractor who threatened BFSA employees.

He added that the matter should be resolved in court. “None of the parties should think that they will solve it here on the spot,” Demerdzhiev noted.

He also announced that the food safety agency systems have hacked and theattack is now investigated.

BFSA Director Hristo Daskalov said that the agency's employees were unable to handle the cargo for four days, as representatives of the private contractor occupied all the inspection stations. He also pointed out that a way is being sought to double the capacity of the national laboratory in Sofia, which examines the quality of food entering Bulgaria.

New order 

In a related development, the formerly ruling Continue the Change said in a press release on Sunday that the BFSA chief has issued an new order whereby BFSA will be the only one doing the loading and unloading of trucks at the checkpoint for phytosanitary control. 

“The tightening of laboratory controls, which began on May 20 is irreversible, so that people will never again wonder if they are putting on their table fruit and vegetables with an elevated pesticide content. For many years, products imported to Bulgaria and the EU from third countries have put price pressure on Bulgarian producers because strict controls did not apply to them,” Continue the Change say.

They believe that the end of the private monopoly on phytosanitary control at Kaptain Andreevo “brings Bulgaria one step closer” to the Schengen border-free area.

/YV/

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By 20:17 on 09.12.2022 Today`s news

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