BUSINESS IN SHORT

Ministry addresses EC over e-toll

THE TRANSPORT Ministry has sent a response to the European Commission, addressing objections it raised regarding the method Slovakia used to pick the supplier of its electronic highway toll system. Slovakia’s response was not published.

THE TRANSPORT Ministry has sent a response to the European Commission, addressing objections it raised regarding the method Slovakia used to pick the supplier of its electronic highway toll system. Slovakia’s response was not published.

Ministry spokesperson Martin Krajčovič reiterated that Transport Minister Ján Figeľ would advocate Slovakia’s interests in the case, despite the fact that he had criticised the tender as being overpriced when he was an opposition leader, the SITA newswire reported. The tender was managed by the previous government.

The EC is concerned that Slovakia may have violated EU regulations in the tender for procurement of the electronic toll collection system by discriminating against some bidders and thus preventing competition.

The National Highway Company (NDS) announced the public tender for an operator of an electronic toll collection system in September 2007, with the estimated value of the contract amounting to €664 million. In December 2007, it seemed that only three of the initial eight bidders would compete for the tender, after the NDS excluded three bidders from the running in November, claiming they did not comply with the technical specifications. After signing a contract, some contractual terms were significantly revised.

The EC said that if the changes had been introduced at the beginning of the procurement process and participating applicants made familiar with them, they could have had submitted alternative bids and more applicants could have been included in the bidding process.

NDS is alleged to have violated the principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination.


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