site.btaUPDATED Grain Producers’ Protest Goes into Third Day
For a third day running, more than 80 farmers on Friday blocked incoming traffic on the E-79 road at Vidin, Northwestern Bulgaria, by heavy-duty farming machinery in protest against Ukrainian cereals imports which undercut their produce.
Vidin Grain Producers Union President Zhechko Andreinski said that the blockade will last about an hour, double the time of the protest on Wednesday and Thursday. Tractors have been parked for a third day now on the roadside of the route to and from the Vidin-Calafat bridge over the Danube (on Bulgaria’s border with Romania), with motor cars and trucks waiting in kilometres-long lines in both directions.
The protest action is policed by uniformed Interior Ministry personnel.
Andreinski told BTA that farmers are protesting because they risk bankruptcy if unable to sell their produce. They demand a repeal of the EU regulation lifting controls on the import of various agricultural products from Ukraine, as a result of which the local produce stays unsold in warehouses, the grain producers’ leader added.
The road to the Kardam Checkpoint on Bulgaria's border with Romania (Northeastern Bulgaria) has been blocked, Dobroudja Grain Producers Union President Radostina Zhekova told BTA.
"Over 70 Ukrainian and Moldovan trucks are waiting to cross into Romania, which means that they have unloaded their cargo in Bulgaria. A trainload of sunflower seed has been spilled on the road," she added.
Zhekova specified that there are no protesters at the Durankulak border crossing in the same area. "We did not plan to protest at Durankulak, but some trucks were rerouted yesterday through that checkpoint after we blocked the border at Kardam. Our colleagues got very angry and blocked Durankulak, too, but there is no blockade there today," the grain producers’ leader specified.
The protesters' grievances remain unchanged: an end to the duty-free import of Ukrainian goods into the EU, protection of Bulgarian production and purchase of the local produce at fair prices, Zhekova also said.
Protesting grain producers also blocked the Dunav Most border crossing into Romania briefly on Friday, as well as the approaches to the nearby checkpoint at Silistra-Calarasi.