Sofia, Garibaldi Square, September 2018

Sofia, Graf Ignatiev Street, September 2018

Sofia, Slaveikov Square, Solunska side, September 2018

Sofia, Garibaldi Square, September 2018

Mind the EU Gap!

I am extremely perplexed by the massacre of urban environment witnessed in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria.

The despicable sight is the result of "reconstruction" of twenty of the most emblematic downtown streets and avenues, and the adjacent squares and gardens, so that it practically cuts all through the heart of the city. The work, supposed to finish in September, will take many more months, if not years to accomplish; and evidently much more than the planned funds.

The concerns in regards to this project nicknamed "Somalian pirates disguised as municipality have taken over capital" go in two directions : For one, the health and safety of the inhabitants and the visitors of Sofia are at serious stake. As this gigantic work site resembling a war zone responds to ZERO health and safety regulations. And honestly, if you haven't seen it, you could not imagine that such a spectacle could take place anywhere in the world, let alone Europe (no wonder colonial France considered Vienna as the extreme limit of Europe in the East and probably still does). There are no protection sheets, walls or barriers; no signs, as how to reach the wanted destination; no walking paths or bridges. This on the one hand, on the other, there are holes, bare wires, open electric boxes, rusty metal and nails sticking out, wherever the innocent may walk (this including parents with push-chairs). Now, either both Sofia Municipality and contractors are pure dilettantes and amateurs or... they are pirates hijacking the city for money.

And while Bulgarians are used to the embezzlement of public funds through construction works and road repairs (Thus, in August 16 people were killed when a bus flipped on a near Sofia. Investigation showed that the materials used in the recent repairs of the road, were absolutely inadequate, turning the road surface into a slide even in the best weather), the scale and naked gutsiness of this plain-day-robbery project, in which Sofia looks like a war zone, is of Mugabeian scale.

As a result, Sofia is no longer the Paris of the Balkans but a sort of ugly Hieronymus Bosch painting where one sees a city exposed to a vile attack while its citizens unaware of the aggression, like in a nightmare, walk nonchalantly jumping from stone to stone over massive gaps.

Secondly, the mere sight screams of corruption. Yet, this is not your usual shady post-Soviet, transition period corruption; nor the timid joining the EU stage corruption. No, it is larger scale corruption with a new spring to it. Eleven years after joining the EU, Bulgaria has grown EU-balls corruption.

For we all know about the five million in CASH found by Bulgarian police in two hotels in Bulgaria, right? The first of which Marinela, the flagship hotel of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, where many of the EU guests attending the multiple events related to the Presidency in Sofia stayed during the first half of 2018. The second cash stash hotel was in Ploobdiv. Plovdiv? The European Captial of Culture for 2019, right?

Who will investigate this? Somebody with cosmic balls, I reckon.

 

              In memory of Viktoria Marinova.

 

And with profound empathy towards the poor, poor Bulgarian people who, as always feed the mouths of greedy satraps of a fatty alien empire.

 

*Bulgaria is the only EU country with a Soviet model prosecution system. Bulgaria's prosecution system has NOT been reformed during the EU accession period. The only two other countries in Europe using similar prosecution systems are Belarus and Moldova!

 

**Bulgaria is ranked the 111th country in the world when it comes to press freedom, lower than any other EU state.

***Viktoria Marinova's last episode of "Detector" TV show was dedicated to the arrest in Bulgaria, mid September, of two IJ4EU grantees, writing for the Bulgarian website Bivol and for the Rоmanian Rise Romania. Marinova opens the 45 min show with the words "A resent investigation of Bivol found that consultant companies cook their books and bribe civil servants to facilitate large-scale EU projects. In the course of this investigation Dimitar Stoyanov and Attula Biro were arrested. Detector met them to talk about their investigative work, and the circumstances of their arrest".

Night time road works downtown Sofia, Milin Kamak St, Lozenets