On 11 November 2020, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Christian Doleschal of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“On 16 December 2014, Hungary and Serbia signed a declaration of intent with China regarding the modernisation of the Soroksár – Kelebia railway line. On 24 November 2015, China’s National Development Commission and Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs concluded an agreement on cooperation in the development, construction and financing of the Hungarian section. At the same time, the companies China Railway International and China Communications Construction entered into a contract with the Serbian Ministry of Mines for the modernisation of the Serbian section. After attempting to award projects directly for both the Hungarian and Serbian parts without a proper procurement procedure, Hungary applied Directive 2014/25/EU and organised a tendering procedure (TED — Works-475836-2017-2017).
The latter may have violated Article 42 of Directive 2014/25/EU as well as fundamental principles of the TFEU such as equal treatment, transparency and fair competition.
1. Does the Commission consider that there is a potential conflict of interest under Article 42 of Directive 2014/25/EU because subsidiaries of the same Chinese parent company (‘CREC’) acted both for the (Hungarian) procuring entity and for the Hungarian-Chinese partner in the consortium which was successful in the procurement procedure?
2. Does the Commission share my concerns that the manner in which the tender procedure was conducted is not in line with the fundamental principles of the TFEU on equal treatment, non-discrimination and transparency?”
On 19 January 2021, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton responded on behalf of the European Commission stating:
“The Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that the assessment by the Commission services of the Budapest-Belgrade railway project mentioned by the Honourable Member is ongoing and the evaluation is not completed yet.
The Commission services are currently examining various issues linked to this tender procedure, in close cooperation with the Hungarian authorities.
At this point, it would be premature to draw any conclusions as to the compatibility of the project with EC law and fundamental principles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).”
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