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Hundreds of Bulgarian farmers block roads in protest against the end of the veto on the entry of Ukrainian grain

Hundreds of Bulgarian farmers are blocking car traffic on Monday, with tractors and other vehicles, at several crucial points of the country's road network, as well as border crossings, in an indefinite protest that began today against the uprising, last Friday, of the temporary ban on importing Ukrainian grains. A total of 26 organizations from the agricultural sector have called for this protest which, defended on social networks as necessary to “save Bulgarian agriculture”, includes a massive march to the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, tomorrow, Tuesday.

The protesters demand the resignation of the European coalition in power, made up of reformists and conservatives, for its decision to lift the veto on imports of agricultural products from Ukraine that has been in effect since the beginning of May and which, they claim, negatively affects some 900,000 people.

Georgi Milev, vice president of the Cereal Producers Association, asked the population to reduce motorized trips and transfers to what is essential, only in case of need, since farmers are moving heavy agricultural machinery on the roads. As reported by public radio BNR, by early this morning some 40 blockades had been established throughout the country, including several on sections of the two highways that cross Bulgaria, one in the north and one in the south, as well as on the European route E-79 that connects with Greece and on the two bridges over the Danube River that connect with neighboring Romania.

Last Thursday, the Bulgarian Parliament approved the decision to lift the temporary veto on the entry of grains from Ukraine that, with the approval of the European Commission, had been introduced in this country, as well as in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, to protect their domestic agricultural sectors from competitive Ukrainian products, which are tariff-free in the European Union. A day later, the Commission announced that it was not renewing that ban beyond September 15, as Kiev had asked to do, despite the fact that the majority of the five affected partners did want to extend it until the end of the year.

The veto affected imports of wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower, but not the transit of these Ukrainian products through the territories of the five countries to third destinations. Bulgaria is so far the only one that lifted the veto, as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia announced that they were prolonging it unilaterally, while Romania is waiting for a plan from the Ukrainian Government with measures to protect the Romanian internal market, before taking a final decision. (Efe)

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