The mass movement of Greeks towards the neighboring countries is observed -again- against the background of the Easter period. A phenomenon, which is hitting the domestic economy again, despite the efforts of the locals to keep the prices of the products low.

The massive influx of Greeks for shopping in countries such as Bulgaria, North Macedonia and even Turkey has provoked the reactions of gas station owners, mini-market owners – and even livestock farmers – as for two weeks they have been witnessing the “descent” of thousands of people, mainly from Northern Greece, who flood the neighboring markets with the aim of supplying fuel, clothes, even… meats for Easter Sunday.

Especially this year, Greek businessmen are in trouble as they made great efforts to keep the cost of their products at affordable levels. For example, the price of amnoerifia in Bulgaria ranges from 13 euros, while in Greece it reaches 14 euros.

The holistic difference is found in the overall “package” of the neighboring country, as a customer from Northern Greece with just a few kilometers of travel will have returned home with: Cheap clothes, cheap cigarettes and cheap gas.

The president of the Livestock Association of Kato Nevrokopi, Christos Tsernios points out that fuel is what attracts the Greeks and acts as a fulcrum for the rapid recovery of “cheap…tourism”.

“More or less the prices fluctuate at the same levels, of course there is a difference in lambs. What happens is that one can buy a product of the same company in Bulgaria as in Greece, but there the price can drop as it also affects the VAT which mostly “hurts” the Greek businessmen”, he said characteristically.

According to Mr. Cernio, several products often happen ahead of Easter -and not only- you can find them cheaper in Bulgaria, with an asterisk, however, for the quality. “They pay more for the quality we consume here in Greece. In Bulgaria you can find cheaper products, but their quality is also inferior. In Greece, on the contrary, we preach quality, at least the breeders. Our products should have the surplus value corresponding to the quality” he noted.

“Our market is deserted”

A cry of anguish over the current situation from Giorgos Tzambazlis, a member of the Panhellenic Federation of Fuel Dealers, who asks drastic measures to limit the phenomenon. “The problem is very serious and we are shouting that something must be done because the problem has disappeared. Because there is no voice of support, they must reduce the prices at the border and in areas such as: Florina, Evros, etc. so that we become more competitive” he pointed out, underlining the chaotic difference, especially in the price of fuel.

The petrol difference is 45-50 cents per litre. We ask that action be taken, especially now that fuel is on the rise and is a big problem for society. Over time, studies have been done from 2014 to today and the drop in our turnovers is at 40-43%. All those who go to the neighboring countries, combine fuel with cigarettes and with all the shopping. Our market has been deserted”, he stressed.

“As prices rise, the incentive is even stronger”

Alexandros Melidis, a member of the Board of Directors, is on the same wavelength. of the Panhellenic Federation of Fuel Dealers and the Union of Gas Stationers of Thessaloniki, who spoke of a perennial problem at the border.

“All areas near the border face the same problem. As a federation we have proposed ways several times and unfortunately the movement of Greeks is not limited only to fuel: They also go to supermarkets, buy tobacco, alcohol, the only losers are the professionals in the regions and the state which loses taxes, duties, VAT”, he said. characteristics.

Recently, according to him, he was asked to piloted in Komotini a Market Pass type for the locals. “We wanted to see if it would have any benefit, if in two months, for example, turnovers increase.” The proposal fell on the table, but as he pointed out, “it was never implemented”.

According to him even the Skopje which are theoretically far away for the people of Thessalonica, are a pole of attraction, crowned – as always – by the casinos. “Many people combine their walk and at the same time return with shopping. It’s a day trip for them, but the impact is profound. Especially as prices rise, the incentive is even stronger,” he underlined, explaining that as fuel prices rise, more people will move to neighboring countries. “We are getting close to two euros and we are seeing an ever-increasing increase in fuel,” he said.