Brussels to hold back HUF 170 billion fund

EU

Hungarian public tenders for road construction prescribe that asphalt mixing workshops should be located near the construction site, practically excluding foreign companies to apply. Brussels has objected to the 6 years’ practice and is planning to hold back a HUF 170 billion grant.

European Committee has questioned the circumstances of Hungarian public tenders for road construction, reported by Magyar Nemzet. EC is planning to hold back HUF 170 billion referring to a regulation that has existed for the past 6 years.

The requirement for application is that construction companies can only be involved if they have asphalt mixing plant located in 50 kilometer distance to the roadwork. According to EC, Hungary is violating EU’s competition rules.

A year ago Brussels complained about the language requirements for application. Regulations prescribed that the engineers and architects involved in the works ought to be able to speak Hungarian and be the members of Hungarian Engineer Chamber (MMK), further excluding foreign companies. Hungary could reach an agreement with Brussels about the issue by minor corrections.

EC intends to hold back the 25% of HUF 675 billion EU fund, but the amount might be used for other programs. The government had taken commitment to the construction processes and has already paid HUF 150 billion for them. Should EC decide to hold back the HUF 170 billion fund, the government would be required to cover the expenses using budgetary sources.

János Lázár, the Minister of State for the Prime Minister's Office, is meeting with Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, next Tuesday (May 27) and allegedly the issue is part of their agenda. According to Magyar Nemzet, Lázár would be urging to decrease the measure of corrections.

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