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Tension is increasing, farmers do not retreat

26 January 2010 / 13:01:26  GRReporter
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Farmers continue blockading in order to push the government, which nevertheless gave no regard to their financial demands. The dialogue continues in the Congress Center Zapio participating in which is Minister of agriculture and Katerina Badzeli, but the representatives of the opposition New Democracy and the farmers themselves were missing today. 

After the meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture with representatives of the strikers, minister Badzeli said that by the end of February subsidy from the EU funds for 2009will be paid, the return of the paid VAT will be simplified and expedited and control of agricultural products will be forced so that the difference in price between the manufacturing and the final price of the product cannot exceed 30%. Moreover, the ministry in cooperation with chambers of commerce will proceed to establish a database on traders selling agricultural products. 

In order to avoid further tension the prosecutors of the Supreme Court decided not to arrest farmers blocking the roads because this will cause clashes. Prosecutors with the help of police, will record the names of the farmers and in other cases they will note the registration numbers of their tractors and later own will find out their owners and will legally proceed after that. 

It seems that these measures did not scare the villagers, who closed the railway line at Promahonas yesterday. The border point there was open for few hours in a sign of good will on their part so that trucks can move. The port of Igoumenitsa, the detoured roads in Thembi around Platikambos and Melunas, the old highway Serres-Kavala, the Thessaloniki-Kavala motorway in Vrasna and Ormenio border post in Evros, are all closed. 

For cars that are headed to Athens police allow passage through Lamia, the 200th kilometer of the Athens-Lamia road at Thermopylae has an exit for vehicles. Trucks continue to Amfisa, then go towards Itea, Distomo, Thiva and Livadia, in order to return to the highway on the 85th kilometer. Cars continue to Livadia, and on the 145th kilometer on the Athens-Lamia highway, they are detoured for five kilometers, and then returned again to the highway. 

Meanwhile the representative of the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece Vassilis Tomaidis stressed that major producers are losing hundreds of thousands of Euros from the farmers strike such as the factory for paper production, which is losing €150 000 per day, because of the inability to communicate with its customers, as Promahonas is closed. Many clothing companies with factories in Bulgaria and Romania are losing foreign customers every day. Also, companies processing agricultural products, such as olives, cannot export the products to their customers. 

Farmers need to realize that the problems of those companies will affect them directly, as companies handling the products will not be able to pay them and finally they will bankrupt, and the relatives and children of farmers, who work in those companies will be left on the streets without a job," says Mr. Tomaidis for Navtemboriki newspaper

In their address to the farmers the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece urges them to assume their responsibility and to raise their blockades, because their actions impede the right of free movement of goods and people, which is a fundamental principle of democracy.

Tags: Farmer protest in Greece Bulgaria Trade Blockade Export
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