Report: EC fine in conflict over road tenders is about HUF 50 bln

Deals

The fine that the European Commission will levy against Hungary for the improper tendering of road work contracts is apparently HUF 45-51 billion, government friendly newspaper Magyar Idők reported today.

During a meeting between EC Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu and Hungarian Cabinet Chief János Lázár in Budapest last week, the two sides reportedly reached what Lázár said was a “favorable” offer for resolving a conflict over tendering for roadwork funded by EC grants. He explained that Hungary would pay a fine for improper tendering practices, and in exchange the EC would free up HUF 500 bln in funding, but he did not say at the time how big the fine would be.

Magyar Idők, a paper that the government often uses to release information, reported today that the fine agreed was HUF 45-51 bln, which is supposedly half of what was originally proposed. According to the paper, Deputy State Secretary for International Affairs Zsigmond Perényi said that, under the agreement, the HUF 500 billion in EU funds would be transferred to Hungary within a month and a half, once all the necessary details have been clarified.

The EC had withheld HUF 500 bln in funding for road work in Hungary, pending a probe of the way Hungary arranged tenders for EC funding. The EC said it was wrong to require that anyone bidding for roadwork had to provide a source of asphalt close to where the roadwork was being done. The agreement made last week will end the conflict, Lázár said.

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