6 Feb 2024 16:50

Bulgarian farmers start protests demanding resignation of agriculture minister over too cheap Ukrainian agricultural products

MOSCOW. Feb 6 (Interfax) - Bulgarian farmers joined protests throughout the European Union and blocked highways with agricultural vehicles at 80 sites across the country on February 6, Ukrainian media reported, citing 24chasa.bg.

"Roads and crossroads will be blocked mainly in the eastern and southeastern part of the country. No protests are planned in Sofia yet," the publication said.

The dispute between the farmers and the government involves around 500 million leva (250 million euros). The farmers are demanding compensation for importing, in their view, too cheap Ukrainian agricultural products. The farmers also disagree with the EU's 'green policy', which they say is causing them losses.

The protesters are also demanding the resignation of Agriculture Minister Kiril Vatev, who they believe is not doing enough to protect their interests.

The government's stance is that farmers should prove their losses to the tax authorities. The Bulgarian Agrarian Chamber, which brings together several dozen agricultural organizations, has threatened to "crowd the streets and roads with tractors all over the country."

The farmers made a demand at a meeting at the Bulgarian Agriculture Ministry: if there is no solution acceptable to them by the end of the week, they will stage a nationwide protest on February 13, during which they will block the entire country. Until then, protests will take place every day, but without a blockade.

The organizers of the protests are mainly grain producers. How long the demonstrations will last is not specified.

As reported, the Bulgarian Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday published a letter from Vatev to Ukrainian First Prime Minister and Economy Minister Yulia Sviridenko, in which he categorically disagreed with the information disseminated by the Ukrainian Economy Ministry about Bulgaria's easing imports of Ukrainian sunflower.