Trakia concession updated with EC recommendationsРубрика: Property news Източник: Dnevnik
A new annex will be tagged onto the Trakia motorway concession contract to incorporate the latest recommendations made by Eurostat and the European Commission, Bulgarian deputy regional development minister Savin Kovachev said on Tuesday, November 20.
Kovachev and a representative of the Portuguese-led consortium awarded the motorway concession Tuesday met with experts from the EC transport directorate to brief the European officials on ten items from the contract which may have unregulated state aid implications.
The new annex will have three clauses. Under the first one, the Bulgarian state will be obliged to reimburse the operator for no more than 50% of revenue lost due to low traffic.
Under the second clause, the operator will not be entitled to any compensation payments for losses incurred due to the partial or complete closure of the motorway in the event of bad weather or an accident.
Another EC recommendation that will be included in the annex is obliging the operator to return any payments determined as unregulated by Brussels.
The regional development ministry expects the new texts to be submitted for review by the government as soon as next week.
Kovachev and Boiko Kotsev, executive director of Technoexportstroy, one of the Bulgarian companies in the consortium, said the new annex will be signed within a week. They also suggested that the construction of the motorway will begin within 90 days.
The EU experts requested information on the methodology and criteria used to set the tolls and the opportunities that the operator has to participate in the process. The Bulgarian officials responded that the tolls are set by the state alone and are market-based.
The EU official also wanted to know if the state aid to which the operator will be entitled in case the motorway is undertrafficked will be paid as a grant or a loan. Kovachev reportedly explained that the aid will be extended as an interest-bearing loan.
Another question raised by the EC experts was whether Bulgaria will make any payment to the operator after the concession contract runs out.
'We replied that the state will not owe anything and will make payments to the concessionaire only for construction improvements,' said deputy regional development minister Kalin Rogachev.
The EC is still perusing the contract and has not started an official investigation.
The concessionaire Magistrala Trakia, led by Portuguese builders MSF, Grupo Lena and Somague, will complete a 118 km section of the Trakia motorway from Stara Zagora to Karnobat, a 60 km section from Sofia to Kalotina and the 22 km northern arc of the Sofia ring road.(Dnevnik)