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Report: EC may withhold 25% of road investment funding [Updated]

Telco

The European Commission could decide to keep some HUF 170 billion in funding from Hungary because of restrictions on road construction tenders in place since 2007, according to local news daily Magyar Nemzet today. Brussels reportedly objects to Hungary’s exclusion of bidders from road construction projects without nearby asphalt units. The rule prevents companies with mobile asphalt units from participating in tenders, the ‘paper reported.

The Commission could withhold some 25%, or HUF 170 billion, of the HUF 675 billion of funding for road investments.

All of the funding has already been committed and HUF 150 billion has been paid out, according to Magyar Nemzet, which reckons that funding could be reallocated but only for investments to be completed by the end of 2015, “an impossibly short timeframe.”

PM Chief of Staff János Lázár will be meeting with Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn next Tuesday to try and reduce the amount of funding withheld.

UpdateThe European Commission is reviewing Hungarian road-building contracts, a spokesperson for Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn confirmed on Thursday.

Shirin Wheeler said it was too early to say the scale of the funding that could be affected and that Hungarian authorities had been asked to review the contracts because of suspicion they contained discriminative restrictions.

A source close to the Commission speaking on condition of anonymity said that about 70 contracts could be affected in the matter.

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