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Brussels stops action against Slovakia over highway toll tender

THE EUROPEAN Commission wrapped up an action against Slovakia over the suspected violation of European rules on public procurement in the tender for the operator of the electronic highway toll system, on March 28, the SITA newswire reported.

THE EUROPEAN Commission wrapped up an action against Slovakia over the suspected violation of European rules on public procurement in the tender for the operator of the electronic highway toll system, on March 28, the SITA newswire reported.

If the suspicions of Brussels were confirmed, Slovakia would face a lawsuit and a fine. The EC however wrapped up the investigation into the reasons why some of the bidders in the tender who submitted cheaper offers were excluded from the procurement. It was concluded that it was not possible to sufficiently prove that the bidders were excluded in violation of the rules.

The EC based its conclusion on the ruling of the European Court of Justice about the preliminary question and the subsequent ruling of Slovakia’s Supreme Court that refused the appeals of the rejected bidders, SITA wrote. This was after the bidders did not succeed with their lawsuits at the Bratislava Regional Court, nor with their objections against their exclusion at the Public Procurement Office.

“In the ruling on the preliminary issue the Court of Justice decided that if the participant proposes an unusually low price, the public procurer has to ask him in writing to clarify the proposed price,” Andrej Kralik of the EC representation in Slovakia said, as quoted by SITA, adding that it is up to the national courts to check whether the request for clarification allowed the concerned bidder to sufficiently explain the basic characteristic parameters of their offer.

Originally, the EC was concerned that Slovakia violated the European rules for public procurement by excluding bidders without a sufficient reason, thus discriminating against them and hindering fair competition on the EU market. The EC also had its doubts about the inappropriate appendices to the contract after the company SkyToll was selected in the tender to administer the highway toll system.

“If these changes took place at the beginning of the public procurement and if all the participating bidders were informed about them, they could have submitted a different offer and more bidders could have participated in the tender,” Kralik noted, adding that in the end the EC stated that the Slovak bodies took the necessary measures and the violation of rules was removed.
Source: SITA

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
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