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Our New Year’s Resolutions

A New Year always brings feelings of a new start, whether you’re a 10 year old child resolving to be good or the President of a country resolving to make life better for it’s citizens. Bulgaria has had a mixed year during 2008 property prices continued to rise, but EU funding was withheld because of irregularities and mismanagement. However looking to the future President Georgi Parvanov and his merry band have resolved to make an extra effort in 2009. In an attempt to guide him in the right direction, we suggest a list of New Year Resolutions for Bulgaria.

 

Fill Those Potholes Mr President!

We’ve bounced along the Bulgarian road system for years now incurring punctured tyres and annoying rattles caused by too many holes in the road. The Bulgarian road system is hideously underdeveloped with few dual carriageways or motorways. Mountain roads are subject to frequent rock and landslides and during winter the situation gets worse when roads become icy and potholes swell in size. Sadly, it doesn’t stop there, night driving is dangerous due to the lack of lighting and for pedestrians it is even worse because most roads don’t have pavements.

Things have started to improve despite the loss of some EU finding and connections with the capital from major cities like Plovdiv, Bourgas and Varna have got better, but the elimination of the country’s many potholes still seems a far cry away. It’s time to make a concerted effort to eradicate every pothole on the face of the country or else open them up to the tourist market with regular pothole tours! One way or another just leaving them unattended will not make them go away, potholes are much like rabbits, they breed at an alarming rate out here!

Crack Down on Litter Bugs

Parts of the Bulgarian countryside could be dubbed “the rubbish dump of Europe.” Amidst the panoramic scenery, the lush pine forests, the rocky crags with sheer drops to the sea and the sandy beaches, the hedgerows and roadsides are littered with rubbish. The problem has been exacerbated over recent years thanks to the increase in building and lack of funding for waste disposal sites. This has lead to fly tipping, which now blights areas under development. Mass construction has had some positive effects and many developers have cleaned up sites and indeed whole areas in order to sell their property, but in many towns and villages where buildings are still under construction the problem seems to worsen not improve. Yet, there is a simple solution to this problem Mr P. None of us are too keen at your ever vigilant traffic cops jumping out from behind hedges armed with lollipop like baton, so why not halve the police force and assign the redundant half to litter patrol. You could earn enough revenue to cover the amount of money lost in SAPARD funding if you impose strict fines on all litterbugs.

Cut Corruption

You’ve been mixing with a bad crowd Georgi and it’s time to say goodbye to some old friends. We know you’ve sent a few crooks to jail in 2008, but this year you need to get tough and clamp down on those corrupt officials and businesspeople that are robbing the country of much needed funding. Make a stand and win respect with potential new friends in the EU. This task could be ticked off your list by the end of January if you put your mind to it. Most national newspapers in Bulgaria would be happy to supply you with their Top 50 Corrupt Citizens and let’s face it you don’t have to look far to find them!

Help the Roma

Come on Mr President this is 2009 not 1899. It’s time that you helped those subjects less fortunate than yourself. Your Roma population have been neglected for centuries. Now is the time to show some goodwill and gain the respect of your Euro peers by improving living conditions for these people. It’s not handouts these people need, just acceptance and equal status in society. Why not start by educating indigenous Bulgarians by including information about the Roma culture in the national curriculum?


Put us on the Map

Bulgaria is a wonderful country with so much to offer both those who live here and those looking for a holiday destination. However, you hide in the shadows of international tourism, whilst other nations shout about their treasures and take the lion’s share of the tourist cake. It’s time to shout from the rooftops about our wonderful mountains, beaches and heritage sites. Bulgaria is so much more than cheap beer and fags, so let’s have a concerted effort to improve tourism in the country.

Adopt a Pet

Do you have a pet dog Georgi? The plight of the country’s many stray dogs has been a hot topic of late and some efforts have been directed in this area. The World Health Organization recommends the ‘castrate and return’ idea whereby male dogs are castrated free of charge then returned to where they were found. In time this would lead to a reduction in the overall dog population. Another way of handling stray dogs is to copy our Italian cousins and provide state run care homes. One thing you can’t afford to do is turn a blind eye without seeing an increase in rabies outbreaks. So let’s name 2009 the year of the stray.