Bulgarian transport workers who protested at the Kulata border checkpoint with Greece on May 29 ended the protest after talks with authorities who agreed to meet the bulk of their demands to end the problems of congestion and delays crossing the border.

The protesters had threatened that unless their frustrations were addressed, they would blockade Bulgaria?s border checkpoints with Greece.

The Monday morning protest saw about 50 drivers gather at the Kulata checkpoint to complain that the authorities were inadequate in handling the problems at the border. About 30 minutes after the protest started, talks were held with border and customs authorities.

The protesters put forward demands including permanently operation of vehicle scales, an increased number of lanes, and transparency in the measurement of lorries so that there are no abuses.

Speaking after about an hour of talks, Stoyan Mandadzhiev, director of the Smolyan regional border sector, said that after discussions with Greece?s Serres police department, they had been assured that a second lane at the Promachonas border checkpoint would be opened and would be operational by June 10 to 12. Greek and Bulgarian police would both work to regulate the movement of vehicles.

Southwest customs director Georgi Alexandrov gave the drivers a personal assurance that from now on they would not encounter scales that were barred or closed. ?I am leaving you my personal phone number, I am available 24 hours a day,? he said.

District governor Bisser Mihailov said that a large part of the problems were solved and an attempt would be made to solve the others as soon as possible. ?But do not forget that about 1700 vehicles pass the Kulata checkpoint,? he said.

Union deputy leader Alexander Stamboliiski said that the transport workers? demands had been met, apart from those that would take some time to implement.

The protest would not continue for now, but should the measures agreed on May 29 not be carried out, the protests would resume, he said.

(Photo: johka/sxc.hu)

/Panorama

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