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Public procurement: Bus transport concessions in Aust-Agder awarded in breach of EEA law

12.10.2011

PR(11)69

The award of five bus service concessions and their prolongation by the County of Aust-Agder is in breach of the EEA rules. This is the conlusion by the EFTA Surveillance Authority stated in a letter of formal notice sent to Norway today.


In June 2007, the County of Augst-Agder decided to award five concessions for bus transport services within the boundaries of the county for the period 2009-2012, with an option for up to four years extension. In June 2010, the County decided to extend the contracts, which have a combined value of approximately NOK 1 billion. These decisions were taken without any competitive tendering or publication.

The award of a service concession is subject to the fundamental rules of EEA law, and the principle of non-discrimination in particular. This principle implies a duty of transparency to open up for competition and equal treatment of potential candidates.

The obligation of transparency applies where the service concession may be of interest to an undertaking located in an EEA State other than that in which the concession is awarded. Based on the value and the duration of the contracts the Authority has taken the view that the contracts in Aust-Agder are of cross-border interest.

Since the County of Aust-Agder negotiated and awarded the concessions directly with the existing operators, the Authority found that the award was not in accordance with the obligation of transparency.

The letter of formal notice is the first step in an infringement procedure against an EFTA State. The Norwegian Government has been given two months to express its views on the content of the letter.

 

For further information, please contact

 

Mr. Trygve Mellvang-Berg,
Press and Information Officer
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
Mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

 

 




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