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Cracks in the farmers' front

02 February 2010 / 14:02:31  GRReporter
2115 reads

Farmers split into three groups and gradually we see distance among some farmers, who decided to withdraw. However, the main roadblocks will remain. 

Yesterday evening, farmers from the Greek coordinating body had a five hour meeting in Veria. The authority was created last year by the union of Alamana and Kastro with the participation of farmers from 12 villages. At the meeting it was decided that the roadblocks will remain and a request was given for a meeting with the Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou. 

Manufacturers members of the coordinating body accused Agriculture Minister Katerina Badzeli that she has not undertaken any commitment in respect to the economic problems of the farmers and also claimed that her statement for the change of farmers policy is too general. Farmers from Veria decided that if necessary they will go to Athens with their tractors and today they will close all circuitous routes to the capital, so as to make a total roadblock. 

They included two more demands: a meeting with the Minister of Environment Tina Birbili, in order to discuss installing lighting on the fields, and a meeting with the Minister of Employment Andreas Loverdos, so he can be bound by a promise to increase farmers' pensions. Some of the farmers participating in the meeting expressed their concerns that the government may not fulfill their requests, even if they continue with the roadblocks. 

Today Mrs. Badzeli will meet farmers from the second coordinating body that was created this year by the trade unionists of New Democracy supporters from the areas of Thessaly and Macedonia, whose main demand is to bring the benefits of EU’s program "De Μinimis," VAT reduction on certain products and other economic measures. 

Farmers at roadblocks in Nikea and Promahonas, who dragged behind themselves another 18 roadblocks across Greece, announced that they will follow their own path and roadblocks will continue until they get what’s theirs. Despite rising tensions, roadblocks yesterday was substantially less, said Vima newspaper. 

Businessmen continue to spew accusations against farmers.  After sending protest notes signed by its members the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers filed a formal complaint to the prosecution of the Supreme Court in Athens, because the roadblocks of the highways have a catastrophic affect on ski resorts visits in northern Greece. The result is a decline in visits to hotels between 50% and 90%. 

Representatives of the Industrial Chamber of Thessaloniki are outraged that the roadblocks are putting citizens in a trap and as a protest they said they will not attend the opening of the 23rd International Exhibition of Farmer Machinery, Equipment and Tools "Agrotica 2010". 

On the other hand, the ministers of finance Louka Katseli and agriculture Katrina Badzeli said that the government is working in three areas to improve the state of agriculture. They announced that they are considering a plan to "unblock" €26 billion from the European strategic framework for development and putting them in the business program for agricultural development "Alexandros Baltadzis 2007-2013," which will facilitate investment in the agricultural sphere. 

Farmers from Kilkis joined the roadblocks yesterday. Today the farmer protests in Greece will be a discussion topic for the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria, who will decide whether the country will ask for compensation from Greece. According to the Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Naydenov, so far the damages to the country amount to €100 million.

Tags: Farmer protest in Greece Bulgaria Trade Roadblock Export
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