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Duty-free shops closed on Bulgarian borders

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Duty-free shops closed on Bulgarian borders

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Bulgarian has closed all duty-free shops and service stations selling tax free fuel along its borders with Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. The Bulgarian government was responding to European Union accusations that they were a major source of corruption and smuggling.

Duty-free shops on the borders with Romania and Greece were shut when Bulgaria joined the EU at the start of last year.

Bulgaria’s European Affairs Minister, Gergana Grancharova, said: “Closing these shops finalises Bulgaria’s period of transition, and I believe that if previous governments had had the will to do this, the people working in these shops would by now have been able to find much better jobs.”

Bulgaria’s State Administration Minister Nikolai Vassilev said this would make things better, but would not end smuggling.

The European Commission has criticised Bulgaria’s lack of progress against corruption and organised crime. Brussels has frozen 88 million euros worth of agriculture and infrastructure subsidies after an independent audit found severe irregularities in spending. That decision is due to be reviewed on 23 July.