Bulgaria’s Plovdiv may backtrack on 3000 leva fine for drinking in public – report

The maximum fine of 3000 leva (1500 euro) for drinking in parks and other public places in Bulgaria’s city of Plovdiv may be the result of a typing error.

The fine, of a minimum 100 to maximum 3000 leva, was approved at a September 17 meeting of Plovdiv’s city council, along with tougher rules against noise during certain hours and the voting of fines for begging or attempting to enter a public building while intoxicated.

Plovdiv news website podtepeto.com approached mayor Ivan Totev for comment about the 3000 leva fine.

“This is absolutely illogical,” Totev was quoted as saying. “There must be a technical error that went unnoticed by the municipal council. We will bring it back to fix it,” he said.

Zdravko Dimitrov, Plovdiv’s regional governor and the candidate of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s party to be Plovdiv mayor in the October 2019 elections, said that he was greatly surprised by the 3000 leva ceiling on the fine.

“Do we want to drive people out of parks, squares and urban spaces with this? I don’t understand,” Dimitrov said.

He said, however, that if the municipal council did not amend the fine, the regional administration would enforce it, as it had done with other municipal decisions.

In a separate report, podtepeto said that the council had motivated the fine as a matter of synchronisation with the national law against noise approved by Parliament after being proposed by Valeri Simeonov.

Lawyers consulted on the matter said that Simeonov’s noise law did not envisage such a fine.

The website said that Plovdiv had since 2009 a law a provision banning drinking in parks or streets, providing for a fine from 50 to 300 leva.

Three years ago, a fine had been imposed on someone in Tsar Simeon’s Garden in Plovdiv, but had been overturned by the Administrative Court in Plovdiv because the municipal employee who had handed out the fine had failed to prove what was in the bottle the individual was drinking from.

Podtepeto asked how exactly the “3000 leva” amendment had been discussed in municipal council committees, and whether anyone had actually read it.



The Sofia Globe staff

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