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Report: EC to suspend Paks upgrade over lack of tender

The European Commission is expected to suspend procurement related to construction of two new reactors at the Paks nuclear plant tomorrow because the work was given to Russian Rosatom without a tender, in violation of European Union rules, according to reports.

The nuclear plant at Paks. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Cabinet Chief János Lázár confirmed yesterday that the suspension was expected, according to daily Népszabadság.

“We are not worried, we do not have a reason to worry. We have a document signed by Jose Manuel Barroso, the previous president of the European Commission on January 14, 2014. Without this we would not have been able to sign a contract,” Lázár was quoted as telling the paper. 

Lázár reportedly said officials are ready for an infringement procedure. As in the case of fuel procurement and technological responsibility, they are open to constructive cooperation and hope to reach an agreement in the end.

Citing unnamed sources, bruxinfo.hu, a Brussels-based Hungarian daily, reported yesterday that Hungary could receive an official letter from the European Commission about the issue tomorrow. Hungary would have a month to react to the letter and Brussels would decide whether it accepts Hungaryʼs response, or move the procedure to a second phase, bruxinfo.hu said.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office late yesterday, the contracts Hungary signed on the upgrade of the country’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks comply with related European Union rules, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

“It is the standpoint of the Hungarian government that the intergovernmental agreement between Hungary and Russia signed in January 2014 as well as the engineering, procurement and construction agreement signed in December 2014 do not violate European Union regulations on public procurement procedures,” MTI quoted the announcement as saying. “The government continues to maintain that it complied with all official Hungarian, European Union and international rules in the course of preparations for maintaining the capacity of the Paks nuclear power plant.”

Infringement procedures are on the agenda of the EC’s executive body at a meeting tomorrow, MTI reported.

The PM’s office also said that the EC last April approved a fuel delivery contract for the Paks plant, and Brussels had informed the government in September that targets in the contract with Euratom were in compliance with regard to energy policy, climate policy, energy security and nuclear safety, MTI reported.