Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

So, it'spossible

euinside, February 3, 2010

Shocking! Early morning, cold and ice. The temperature is around minus 10 but we have decided that we will not violate our regime and will jog in the park. The route to the park is not terribly long but, instead, is enough for a morning jogging. However, there was not even 1 part of the sidewalks to be cleaned from the snow. Not even 1! Not to mention the streets where it was quite funny to watch the "brave" drivers driving with inadequate speed and sliding around, hitting dust bins or other cars. The unpleasant part is that while watching you could fall yourself on the icy sidewalk.

Anyway, we are also brave and we reach the park where there is no ice. The winter is beautiful. We start jogging and, what a surprise! One of the major alleys in the park is not only cleaned from the snow but also sand is spread all over it. The view not only astonished me but puzzled me as well because O have never expected the park to be cleaned during winter. And although I thought that we will be the only crazy people who will not miss their morning jogging, in spite of the low temperatures, it appeared that there were others too. And not only them but also people who cross the park so as to avoid the traffic and the public transport.

How is this possible, I ask myself, such I wouldn't say key road artery in the park to be cleaned and the streets and the sidewalks not? From the web page of the Sofia Inspectorate I see a news from the 29th of January saying that the Inspectorate has made 87 protocols, noting wrong-doing or nothing-doing, 5 statements for violations of the city regulations and fees worth totally 3,527 levs (1,808 euro) (three thousand five hundred twenty seven levs) for uncleaned sidewalks. All this money for all of the 24 subregions of Sofia. No wonder that less and less people and companies do their duty to clean the snow in front of their offices or apartment houses.

Very different is the situation with the parks, as the executive director of the 100% municipal company "Greenery" Nenko Nenkov told euinside. At the beginning when I called the company on the phone there was panic - what do these journalists now want, am I not satisfied with something, do I have any complaints, what was wrong, I was being asked. On the contrary, I said, I even want to praise you. Here is what Mr Nenkov said.

Each month the department "Green System" at the Sofia municipality gives the companies that won through tenders the obligations to take care of the parks action programmes. In this action plans the municipality clearly enlists what actions need to be done for the month ahead - be it cleaning the snow or cutting the grass, depending on the priorities and the financial capabilities. The budget, roughly is between 800,000 and 1 mn levs (400,000 or 500,000 euro). Of course, in the case with the snow, not all areas in the parks are being cleaned - only the most visited ones.

And what happens if the company does not fulfill its obligations? Sanctions, shortly replies Nenko Nenkov - as if this had already happened to him or he was absolutely convinced that this was inevitable. Around the 25th of each month the Investment control (the other name of "Green System") makes thorough inspections to see whether and how the job is done. And if it is not the money for it are not being paid. As simple as that.

However, still remains the question why is this not happening with the streets and the sidewalks? The answer is very simple - almost a month ago one of the free municipal newspapers in Sofia wrote that the Bulgarian National Radio was fined for not cleaning the sidewalk in front of its building 20 levs (less than 20 euro)!

The conclusion from this not that important story is that it proves that work can be done properly and that it can be supervised and controlled. Now the Sofia municipality will have to analyse what in its work or regulations prevents it from doing all other activities it is obliged to do. Then every citizen will be pleased and will know that those he or she voted for were worth it and those who did not vote will know that the money they pay each year in the form of taxes did not go in vain. Will we live to see this happen?