Friday, 15 January 2010

Greeks Hold Up The Highway Border In Subsidy Protests

the Greek farmers have good reason to protest with subsidies that make their produce uncompetitive. The whole genre of subsidies comes into question when export and imports are affected and peoples' livelihoods at stake. The is no simple answer as it is a see-saw game of striking a balance. I can only see this escalating and the protests becoming more violent as initially no action will be taken as is always the case with peaceful protests. This is the way of the world with the protest scene.

Greeks Hold Up The Highway Border In Subsidy Protests
Greek farmers are set to block all three border crossing points with Bulgaria in a protest meant to last five days, Bulgarian and Greek media have reported. Initially, the strike action was supposed to go into effect on January 15 2010.

However, Greek trade unions later said that the final decision on the issue would be taken on January 18.

Concerning the protest, Bulgaria's Transport Ministry asked the Foreign Ministry to contact Greek authorities and "ensure that a free corridor would be left out for all Bulgarian vehicles," Dnevnik daily reported on January 14.

As part of the request, the Bulgarian side acknowledged the right of the Greek farmers to protest and voice their discontent but only if that "does not violate the basic rights and interests of other European Union member states".

If its request was not granted, Bulgaria was ready to take the issue with the European Commission, Dnevnik reported.

Bulgarian business is likely to be affected, especially lorries carrying goods that need refrigeration and other special treatment.

Earlier on January 14, Bulgarian media reported that Bulgarian border police reportedly received a tip-off from police chiefs in Northern Greece that farmers could blockade the border checkpoints as early as January 15 as part of a concerted effort to block vital motorways in the country.

Greek farmers, protesting over subsidies, fear that the strike would be declared illegal and the farmers would be arrested if they proceed with their plans, reports said.