By Clive Leviev – Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Bulgarian tobacco producers are planning large-scale national protests in the week beginning July 8 because the country has not secured access to European Union funding for the industry in the bloc’s next multi-year budget period.
The chairman of Bulgaria’s association of tobacco producers, Tsvetan Filev, said that Bulgaria was the only country that had failed to protect the interests of the 200 000 people employed in the sector.
It would not benefit from EU subsidies under the Common Agricultural Programme 2014-2020, and was not the only sector in this position, he said.
Other sectors that would not benefit from EU subsidies in these years were Bulgaria’s rose industry, pig, poultry and beekeeping industries, Filev said, quoted by Bulgarian National Radio.
The protests are to be held in the capital city Sofia, outside the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and at other places in the country.
Filev said that the tobacco producers wanted to draw the attention of Bulgaria’s Euro-Atlantic partners and the foreign media to the local industry’s plight.
He did not rule out the possibility that on July 11, representatives of the industry would blockade Bulgaria’s border checkpoints with Turkey and Greece.