If you search for “Greece Bulgaria border” in Google news you will see tens if not hundreds of articles giving updates on what is happening.
The following article is the reality of the situation and it comes from first hand experience.
Greek farmers had been closing the border between the countries, daily, for a few hours a day. I repeat, a few hours a day.
The rest of the time, the border was operating as normal. In fact, I could say the border was actually functioning better than normal and that the queues for trucks was below average.
It is not uncommon to see queues of trucks stretching a km or more before the Greek farmers started blocking the border.
ie it is a normal situation for trucks crossing the Bulgarian/Greek border to be waiting, perhaps up to 5 hours.
In short, the effect of the Greek farmers protests were simply to cause temporary delays, perhaps an extra two hours for people trying to cross the border at the times the Greek farmers were blocking the border.
It was a minor inconvenience at best and you could avoid any inconvenience by simply crossing the border at times when the farmers were not blocking it.
What the Bulgarian side has done is completely different to the Greek side.
The Greek side were causing minor inconvenience. The Bulgarian side has stopped trade and closed the border completely for 5 days.
What the Bulgarian side has done has absolutely nothing to do with the Greek farmers.
You cannot compare the effects of the Greek farmer protests compared to the Bulgarian side’s total blockade.
To suggest that the Bulgarian actions are in any way proportionate is absurd.
I am not going to pretend to know why the Greek protests and the subsequent Bulgarian blockade is being spun the way it is but I can only see one explanation.
- Bulgaria is being used as a pawn to discredit the protests that are happening in Greece
The effects of the Bulgarian blockade on the protests inside Greece.
To say the blockade has up the ante and emotions would be an understatement, at least in Northern Greece.
The farmers protests are rapidly taking on an international dimension, and all thanks to the Bulgarian blockade.
The Bulgarian blockade appears to be politically motivated, and as I said, it is outrageous to suggest the Bulgarian blockade is tit-for-tat. The effects of Bulgarian blockade is something completely different to the farmer protests.
If the Bulgarian blockade is intended to put pressure on Greek farmers, then it has back fired completely.
It is obvious that the Greek farmers are trying to be portrayed as the instigators of the blockade by the international media. But the blockade and the subsequent attempts to shame Greek farmers is turning them into martyrs.
This media spin is ridiculous and it has given the Greek farmers the moral high ground.
The farmer protests are on a matter of principle. Protesting on a point of principle is always a dangerous combination for a government to deal with.
But the Bulgarian blockade can only been seen as the bullying of Greek farmers by a foreign government.
The Bulgarian blockade has thrown gasoline on a smoldering fire.
And it should be mentioned here that the Bulgarian blockade is supported by the Bulgarian government no less.
Given the negligible effects of the original farmer protests on the Bulgarian economy, it makes absolutely no sense for the Bulgarian government to be poking the hornets nest.
For the Bulgarian government to be requesting “assistance” from the EU, to solve a blockade they are supporting is outrageous.
There is only one thing the EU can say in response to the Bulgarian governments requests and that is Bulgaria must stop their blockade and the Greek government must find their own solution to an internal dispute.
It will be a very brave politician in Europe, from a career point of view, who is going to put their head above the parapet and suggest that Greece has to make the first move.
The fundamental points are these.
It is Bulgaria blockading the border, not Greek farmers.
Greek farmers were causing minor inconvenience.
Bulgaria has set up a border blockade for 5 days and counting…