The European Commission has opened infringement against Hungary for lack of compliance of the Paks nuclear power plant project with EU public procurement rules. Portfolio.hu says the move is not unexpected, as press reports this week have already heralded it.
As portfolio.hu reports, the European Commission has decided today to launch an infringement procedure against Hungary concerning the implementation of the Paks II nuclear power plant project.
Following exchanges of information with the Hungarian authorities and a thorough assessment of the terms of the award, the Commission still has concerns regarding the compatibility of the project with EU public procurement rules.
The Hungarian government has directly awarded the construction of two new reactors and the refurbishment of two additional reactors of the Paks II nuclear power plant without a transparent procedure.
The Commission considers that the direct award of the Paks II nuclear power plant project does not comply with EU legislation on public procurement (Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC).
"The Directives consolidate the basic principles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union of transparency, non-discrimination, and equal treatment. These principles seek to ensure that all economic operators have fair chances to participate in a call for tender and to win a contract," the EC said.
The European Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to Hungary, which constitutes an official request for information and is the first step in an infringement procedure.
The Hungarian authorities now have two months to respond to the arguments put forward by the Commission.
János Lázár, the Hungarian Prime Minister’s chief of staff, did not directly respond to the objections of the EU Commission but dismissed the issue by telling reporters on Thursday that "what we are witnessing now is a trade policy dispute, as the companies of EU members states are looking at ways to get a slice of this EUR 12.5 billion investment project."
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