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18.9.2001

EN
EN

Official Journal of the European Communities

C 261 E/173

(2001/C 261 E/199)

WRITTEN QUESTION P-0673/01

by Antonios Trakatellis (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(26 February 2001)

Subject: Final decision on complaint concerning the Thessaloniki underground

In reply to my question on the Thessaloniki underground (H-0513/00) ( 1 ), the Commission said in June 2000 that ‘its services have finalised the examination of the second complaint on this case and is actually considering the next steps to be taken’ and in July replied to another of my questions (H-0566/00) ( 2 ), by saying ‘it is still considering the steps to be taken as regards the public procurement aspects’. In its most recent reply, in December 2000 (H-0875/00) ( 3 ), it states that ‘the Commission acquits itself of its duty as quickly and meticulously as possible’; nevertheless, the second complaint is still pending before it and once again it has not clarified or even sketched out what its final position on the issue will be.

Ten months after the Commission’s reply stating that it had completed its examination, and in view of the fact that the Ombudsman has already stated his findings, charging the Commission with mismanagement in connection with the first complaint, can the Commission indicate when it will at length come to a final decision on the second complaint, since I believe that there are signs of yet another case of mismanage- ment, due to the time-consuming procedures which have resulted in the stagnation of the underground project, despite the fact it is absolutely vital for the city?

( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 )

Written reply of 13.6.2000. Written reply of 5.7.2000. Oral reply of 13.12.2000.

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2001)

In its reply to the Honorable Member’s Oral Question H-875/00 during question time at Parliament’s December 2000 part-session, the Commission has stated that the second complaint concerning the concession contract for the construction and exploitation of the Thessaloniki Metro contains claims for violations of Community state aids and of public procurement provisions.

It was also stated that since the Greek government seemed not to have agreed with the concessionaire on all conditions concerning the financing of the project, no notification under Article 88 (3) (ex-Article 93) of the EC Treaty had reached the Commission so far. Since the situation has not changed in the meantime, the Commission is still not in a position to examine all facts of the case and to take a final decision assessing the complaint. According to the Commission’s information, a final decision by the Greek government on the acceptance of the new financing plan is still pending. In addition, in January 2001 the Greek authorities have contacted the Commission as the relevant concession contract might be subject to modifications due to the negotiations with the concessionaire. In those circumstances there is no point in coming to precipitated conclusions on the basis of data, affecting all aspects of the case, likely to be altered in the very near future.

It is the duty of the Commission to carefully analyse and take into consideration all such elements. Indeed, before taking any decision on the substance, the Commission has to be in a position to form a definitive view of all the relevant legal aspects of the case.

In addition, the recent report by the Ombudsman that the Honorable Member refers to did not find any mismanagement by the Commission on the timing issue and acknowledged, on the contrary, that such proceedings are inevitably time consuming.