Monday, January 15, 2007

Jurnalul National: Sibiu Turns European Capital of Overpriced Construction Work

Sibiu Turns European Capital of Overpriced Construction Work
14 Ianuarie 2007 de Dan Constantin

Sibiu city, in central Romania, shares with Luxembourg the status of cultural city of Europe this year. But the joy that fills Romanians’ hearts should not drain their pockets clean.
For instance, the price paid for a pole went to 1,000 RON ssome 285 eurost, and to 1,350 RON ssome 385 eurost for a garbage bin imported from Italy. That is twice the regular price of a domestically made bin.

Sibiu mayor Klaus Johannis holds this position since 2000, and plans for improving the infrastructure of the city in view of the European cultural city status started two years ago. However, the one million tourists Johannis hoped the city would attract this year will not benefit from the road detour route, from the modernized railway and airport stations. The work there did not end and also unfinished is the work for repairing many of the streets in downtown Sibiu or for refurbishing and bringing up to standards its hotels.

As Johannis said, construction work could not be completed in one year. Still, he had more than a year to plan ahead. And frantic work to get things ready and done in time may have postponed for a while the scrutiny over how funds had been used; but not forever. So, the talk around how was used the public funding is just in its infancy. For now the locals in shops, hotels and restaurants hope business will match that in a true cultural European capital.

The opening of the cultural season in Sibiu was made with lesser style on January 1st, by President Traian Basescu, who shocked the audience again with his non-presidential appearance on stage, throwing his coat into the audience and laughing loudly in tones consistent with someone who did not spend a lot of time reading and finely tuning one’s education.

Today the performances may go back in style, with the opening of Andrei Serban’s stage version of Chekhov’s “The Seagull.”


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