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Civic organizations activity report on Bucharest City Hall shows lack of communication with citizens

The main conclusions of the activity report of the last year of the General mayor and the General Council of the Bucharest Municipality (CGMB), released on Wednesday by ActiveWatch, CeRe and OPTAR, target the lack of communication with citizens – only 1.6 percent of the draft bills being subject to public debate, the actual vagueness of the activity of the municipal companies or the lack of major projects initiated by the Bucharest City Hall (PMB) regarding the city’s infrastructure.

The report includes a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the activity of the General mayor (photo)  and of the General Council from June 2018 to June 2019, the third term of office of the current political configuration of the PMB leadership.

The central topics of the analysis are: decision-making transparency and citizen involvement in the decision-making process, urban mobility, implementation of the strategy for social inclusion and poverty alleviation, the activity of municipal companies part of the Municipal Holding. Given that there are only ten months left of the current term, the report also includes an inventory of the main promises in the election campaign and a list of things that have not been implemented in this document, according to the signatory organizations.

“Mainly, the City Hall has an eminently opaque activity, communication with citizens is lacking, more precisely public debates are lacking. Last year, we had only two public debates organized by the City Hall and under 2 percent of the projects that should have been put under public debates were actually posted on the City Hall’s website, under public debate. On the other hand, citizens are still not allowed to take the floor and access to the General Council meetings – although easier – there are still access issues for citizens,” ActiveWatch representative Irina Zamfirescu stated, according to Agerpres.

“The debates on the budget, as well as the transparency of the budget decisions, are affected by the reading in plenary of certain consistent amendments, not previously published, which modify the draft budget announced initially, which makes it impossible to understand the budget proposed for vote, both by councilors, and much less by the citizens,” the document shows.

“We have conducted an analysis of the activity of each company, as it appears on the websites of the respective institutions, because we do not have any type of communication from the City Hall about what companies actually do. From the analysis carried out on the companies’ website, we notice that for some of these companies, in fact, we do not have any information on what they actually did. On the other hand, we lack vital explanations on how these companies work in parallel with the institutions that are subordinated to the City Hall, that the companies, the municipal holding company, should, in fact, have replaced,” she maintained.

Another conclusion of the report is that the City Hall has abandoned the strategic documents, assumed by Council decisions, such as the urban-sustainable mobility plan or the strategy for social inclusion and the fight against poverty.

The report was presented in Cismigiu Park, opposite the City Hall.

“I came with a minimum of props, some soap balloons representing the way we actually see the activity of the Capital City Hall, some soap balloons presented very beautifully and with great aplomb by the General mayor and general counselors, but ultimately, very quickly abandoned, as the soap bubbles burst, they disappear pretty quickly. I had another black-and-white moment with the money given by the municipal companies and this is due to the lack of transparency about how the money is used in terms of projects that these companies implement as a matter of fact. We do not know the benefits. Besides the Consolidation Company, which the mayor general is promoting quite intensely, the rest of companies – there are over 20 – we do not know what they are doing, in point of fact, as activity in Bucharest,” Zamfirescu specified.

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