This is the story of the Kresna gorge – a stunning valley, a biodiversity hotspot and a place for local agriculture and sports, such as rafting, located in the South-west of Bulgaria and threatened to be destroyed by a motorway route funded by European taxpayers. 20 years and more the threat is now imminent. Support the campaign, ask European Commission and Bulgarian government to bypass the gorge.

The Bulgarian government is sticking to their damaging plans even though there is a reasonable alternative to the motorway. They have already broken a number of European laws that protect nature, but the European Commission has only imposed conditions, which are not sufficiently implemented and remain ineffective. Kresna Gorge is a protected nature reserve and it is the duty of the European Commission to preserve this precious natural jewel.

Locals have been protesting for over 20 years to protect the Kresna Gorge, but all their petitions and complaints to the Commission couldn’t stop the Struma motorway from routing through the gorge. When the fight seems too big for locals alone, we, as citizens of Europe can come together. With a massive public outcry from all over Europe we can persuade the Commission to open an infringement procedure and to take resolute actions to stop the roadbuilders before they destroy the habitat for bear, wolf, butterfly and bat.

The narrow valley is home to protected species of snakes, tortoises and golden eagles and it is a crucial north-south migratory corridor for bears and wolves. It is a spectacular nature haven in southwestern Bulgaria, home to twice as many butterfly species as the whole of the UK.

But in October 2017 the Bulgarian Government decided it would carve through the 16 km-long Kresna Gorge to build a road that would finally connect Hamburg with Sofia and Thessaloniki. While almost everybody – the EU, the Bulgarian government and local population – agrees to create this missing link, the Bulgarian government clings stubbornly to the routing through the gorge locals and environmentalists protest against while pointing out to an alternative path in the east of the valley.

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