|Author (Person)||Chapman, Peter|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.23, 7.6.01, p23|
SINGLE market chief Frits Bolkestein is probing a multi-million-euro contract signed a decade ago for a motorway linking the Varese and Bergamo regions in Northern Italy.
Bolkestein is acting on a complaint by Italian Green MEP Reinhold Messner, alleging that Italian authorities ignored EU public procurement rules by awarding the contract to Pedemontana Lombarda, without giving other firms a chance to bid. Messner said the contract - worth €124 million - was awarded by the Lombardy government in May 1990 and confirmed by decree law on 31 August - a full month after an EU directive imposing strict rules on open tenders came into force.
The MEP also claims the motorway's route changed from that stated in the original contract and although "not one metre of the motorway has yet been built", Messner claims the project later qualified for extra funding under a new Italian transport plan. The "General Transport Plan", announced in March 2000, calls for its completion.
Bolkestein said if Messner is right, Italy could face formal infringement procedings.
The probe is the latest legal headache for Italy's beleaguered motorway programme. The Commission said in March it was investigating the legality of the state road agency's decision to extend, by 40 years, the concession to run Italian motorways to road operator Autostrade.
Brussels is also examining how contracts to manage motorway service stations were awarded.
Single Market chief Frits Bolkestein is probing a mulit-million-euro contract signed a decade ago for a motorway linking the Varese and Bergamo regions in Northern Italy. Italian Green MEP Reinhold Messner alleges that Italian authorities ignored EU public procurement rules by awarding the contract to Pedemontana Lombarda, without giving other firms a chance to bid.
|Subject Categories||Internal Markets|
|Countries / Regions||Italy|