No concessions will be made and the Bulgarian grain producers will get the funding that has already been budgeted for 2012, Farming Minister Miroslav Naidenov told a news conference on Tuesday after the local grain producers brought their discontent to downtown Sofia following several days of roadblocks around the country.
The protest was prompted by the government's back-peddling on a financial agreement signed in late September, shortly before the October presidential and local elections, which has not been incorporated in the country's fiscal plans for next year. The 2012 state budget proposes 230 million levs ($158.1 million/117.6 million euro) less than the 570 million lev financial framework agreed for agriculture.
"This is the best that we could do in this situation [...]. If we show weakens under these circumstances and yield to the pressure there is sure to be a domino-effect," Naidenov said in a press release.
Earlier in the day, Naidenov met with several organizations from the agricultural sector - including the associations of agricultural land owners, agricultural producers and Bulgarian farmers, but the National Grain Producers Association, the main driving force behind the protest, was not among them.
State-run news agency BTA reported that the grain producers thought the invitation to the meeting had come too late and instead they decided to camp out in front of the Council of Ministers building in an unsuccessful attempt to secure a meeting with the prime minister and the finance minister.