Belgian civil servant. A model for Romanian administration

28 iunie 2010

Persons dear to my heart voiced their desire to see some posts in English, so there is something new : I make my first post in English, asking in advance for forgiveness from all native speakers of English for any injustice I might bring to the language of Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, G.B. Shaw and David Beckham.

I start with some news announcement : we decided to replace our Citroen C1 ‘bijou’ car with a bigger one, more adapted to the requirements of a family that travells with a baby. Considering that the global warming is the new religion of this century, it was obvious that the CO2 emissions were a „make or brake” criterion for our future car, so we finally settled for a Volkswagen Golf VI Blue Motion, the most environment-friendly middle-sized car within our price range that would also fit in our garage. We must say that the dealer made us a diplomatic rebate (12%), then it was the VAT exemption that my wife Carmen enjoys (21%), as an employee of the European Commission and then it was an ecological stimulus, of 15% from the list price, because of the low CO2 emission. All these rebates considered, a VW Golf VI fully equipped was cheaper (sorry, I didn’t mean to say ‘cheap’, but ‘beatifully priced’) than you can imagine.

I dreaded anyway the moment when we were supposed to demand the VAT exemption to the Ministry of Finance in Belgium, because of the obtuse bureaucracy I remembered vividly as an inseparable part of  Ministry of Finance’s activity in Romania. But no : to my surprise, a civil servant that was obviously of Flemish origin offered to speak to us in French or English. Not only that she totally understood the three rebates sale on the car, but actually the lady corrected a minor calculus price mistake in our papers, and all the affair was finished in 20 seconds.

I got out of the Ministry of Finance with a strong sense of wonder : only in Belgium a Flemish civil servant would offer to speak to you in French (everybody knows the frictions between French-speaking Wallonie and the Flemish-speaking Vlanderen), would help you to obtain a a loss in income for the Belgian state. In Romania it would impossible to imagine a similar situation : it would be like Vadim Tudor would actively learn and use Hungarian in order to better represent these Hungarian-origin Romanian citizens in the European Parlament.

Finally, I have to say that, in one morning, we did the following activities : we got the final invoice from the car dealer (9.00 am), we obtained tha VAT exemption from the Ministry of Finance (10.00), concluded the car insurance (11.00 am), we registered the car (these took longer because of a queue) and got the second plate before 1.00 pm, with no help from anyone (Belgian administration does not hand you than only one car plate, for the rear, the second one, in front, must be made by the applicant on the market separately). When those things will be  possible to achieve in Romania also, then and only then Romanian civil servant and Romanian administration will be really european.