At an extraordinary briefing in the Council of Ministers, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov declared his readiness to renew the dialogue with the grain producers. After yesterday's remark that he does not negotiate with terrorists, the Prime Minister said today that he is ready to apologize to some of the farmers, but not to all. Today it became clear that Bulgaria is expected to determine which goods and what quantities we could accept in order not to oversaturate the market.
The government remains with an outstretched hand to the grain producers and that it is ready for dialogue despite the developments of the last days and the tension that arose after he said that the grain producers are behaving like terrorists and he does not negotiate with terrorists.
Denkov pointed out that more than one meeting was held with grain producers in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food regarding the exemption of grain imports from Ukraine. He stated that according to the agreement between the EC and Ukraine, he had two meetings with the Ukrainian Prime Minister and they agreed that Bulgaria would provide a list of products that would not flood the Bulgarian market from Ukraine. We are expected to determine what these agricultural crops will be.
A day after comparing grain producers to terrorists, the prime minister said he respected the work of all fruit, vegetable and milk producers. And the government is ready to work with them to solve the problems that have been accumulating in the sector for years.
"If some of these people felt affected by my words - they are not aimed at them, I am ready to apologize," said Nikolay Denkov, Prime Minister. However, the prime minister has no intention of apologizing to another group of farmers, the prime minister was quoted as saying by BNT.
"These are the ones who get the lion's share of the multibillion-dollar grants that have been given in recent years, with which they have built villas, bought yachts and expensive cars, with EU and budget grants, and many of these people are at the heart of the organization of this protest. To them I see nothing to apologize for. And my appeal to the people of the agrarian sector is in the coming days is to decide in which of these two groups they want to participate."
Denkov pointed out that representatives of the protesting organizations participated in five meetings with the Minister of Agriculture regarding the development of the sector and that there was a dialogue between them and the authorities. He explained that the Agreement between the EU and Ukraine solves the main problem of our grain producers:
"I have personally spoken twice with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denis Shmygal, as his country has undertaken to impose restrictions on specific groups of goods according to the countries and their requirements, so as not to saturate the market and create problems for farmers in each country. We are expected to determine which goods and which quantities we could accept," the Prime Minister announced.
The government will accept this decision after discussion with the branch organizations, explained Denkov. He added that products from Ukraine harmful to health were not allowed and will not be allowed. From October last year to May this year, the food agency checked 500 shipments of grain from Ukraine and found irregularities in only one:
"There are and will be strict checks on all indicators of goods that are imported from Ukraine, including those that seem risky from the point of view of the war going on there." Denkov explained that work has already begun on changing the methodology by which subsidies are distributed to farmers. "The goal is to have a more balanced distribution that gives more opportunities to small and medium-sized producers, especially those that produce fruit, vegetables, meat, milk and honey. I would not be surprised if some of the activity that we will see tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, to actually be related to the work of this methodology."
The Chairman of the National Association of Grain Producers, Iliya Prodanov, who yesterday resigned as an advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, repeated today that it is wrong for the Prime Minister to call them "terrorists".
Tomorrow, in 46 places in the country, it has been announced that there will be protests starting at 10:00 a.m., which will include blocking border crossings and main roads. On Tuesday, the protests will move to the Council of Ministers in Sofia.