Bulgaria says will apply to European Commission if truck deadlock continues
SOFIA - Anadolu Agency
Turkey and Bulgaria closed their borders last week after Sofia approved only 5,000 of the 125,000 transit pass permits requested for Turkish trucks at the beginning of the year. AA PhotoBulgaria’s Prime Minister expressed optimism on Feb. 5 that the transit row with Turkey would be resolved without the conflict being referred to the European Commission (EC).
The neighboring countries will hold a ministrial level meeting on the quota of transit pass permits as a week has passed since Turkey and Bulgaria closed their borders to each other’s trucks, Plamen Oresharski said.
However, he warned Bulgaria will apply to the EC in the case of a deadlock and lack of good faith from Turkey.
Turkey and Bulgaria closed their borders last week after Sofia approved only 5,000 of the 125,000 transit pass permits requested for Turkish trucks at the beginning of the year.
There is an argument that started last week between Bulgaria and Turkey in terms of the number of transit permits issues by the two countries. We are in touch with the Turkish authorities. There will be a meeting of the transport ministers,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said speaking at parliament during the blitz parliamentary control sitting held on Feb. 5, Focus News Agency reported.
Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski commented on the problems faced by Bulgarian road carriers at the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
“The delay is due only to some cabinet reshuffles in Turkey. Bulgaria has been convinced that there will be such a meeting as soon as possible,” PM Oresharski added.
“I am convinced that we will find a solution to the issue. That is why we have not addressed the European Commission at this stage, but if the problem continues and if we meet with ill-disposed approach on behalf of our southern neighbor, which I do not believe will happen, we will ask our partners in Europe for cooperation,” Oresharski said further.
Asked to comment on the financial and non-financial harm caused by this inconvenience, Prime Minister Oresharski said that it was hard to calculate the harm in just a few days.
“Probably the harm is small but the issue should not be underestimated, especially if it continues,” Oresharski remarked.
“Some 20 trucks are waiting on both sides to the Bulgarian-Turkish border,“ Petko Angelov, deputy chairman of the Bulgarian Association of Road Transport Unions (BASAT), announced the news in a late Feb. 5 interview for Focus News Agency.
In his words, the situation at the border is calm and drivers show understanding to it.
Angelov also said Bulgarian institutions’ intention to address the European Commission if the road carriers’ problems at the border persisted was a normal thing.
”One individual predisposes Turkish road carriers against Bulgaria, saying Bulgaria did not send permits [for transit] – this is not true. We declare our support for PM Plamen Oresharski as the situation needs to be made public so that it is known there are [enough] permits [in Turkey],“ Angelov added.
In his words, the Turkish administration declared the Bulgarian permits invalid without having the right to do so.