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Bulgaria Tobacco Producers Plan Massive Border Protests

Date: 29.01.2010

Between 15 000 and 20 000 Bulgarian tobacco producers are making preparations for a protest planned for Thursday morning. They will blockade the Danube Bridge crossing to Romania, and the border checkpoints with Greece.

The announcement of the protests was made by Asen Kyuchukov and Fikret Bekir of the National Association of Tobacco Producers.

The protests are timed to start at 10:00 am. Kyuchukov explained that tobacco producers were not satisfied by the outcome of their Tuesday meeting with Miroslav Naydenov, Minister of Agriculture and Food.

The tobacco growers are insisting on guaranteed payments decreed by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers and authorized by the European Commission earlier in January. The total subsidy agreed for the 2009 crop amounts to EUR 116 M, the maximum allowed.

The growers continue to press their demand to maintain the bonus per produced kilo, which is inconsistent with the amount on offer.

This concession had been finally agreed after the Bulgarian tobacco producers had mounted a series of mass protests throughout December.

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