Contract awarded by social-democrats, procedure cancelled by liberals

The fate of an infrastructure project worth 1,36 billion euros, carried out by a Chinese company (in partnership with a Turkish one), was decided by a motion of no confidence. On October 10th, 2019, the government led by Viorica Dăncilă was dismissed through the vote of Romanian parliamentarians.

Three days later, on October 13th, the Minister for Transport of that government (in office until the investiture of the new government), Răzvan Cuc, announced that the signing of the contract was a mere formality. He was referring to the project of the Comarnic – Brașov highway, which the Dăncilă government decided to carry out in a public-private partnership. Following the procedure for selecting the private partner, the winner was deemed to be the consortium formed by China Communications Construction Company Ltd (China) and Makyol Insaat Sanayi Turizm (Turkey). “Next week I am submitting the contract so it can be signed by the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis (authority appointed to complete formalities – n.n.). The Contract must be approved by a Government decision. Should we (the Dăncilă government – n.n.), be able to pass it, we will, if not, we will lay it out for the next Government”, said Minister Cuc three days after the dismissal of the cabinet he was a part of.

However, the Government Decision was not passed by Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă.

PM Viorica Dancila attends the reception marking the National Day of the People’s Republic of China at the Chinese Embassy to Romania in September 2019. Source: gov.ro

After his investiture, the new Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, made a foreseeable move (given the objections raised by the opposition of the Dăncilă government with regard to the choice of a public-private partnership for the project, instead of accessing European funds for large infrastructure projects): he cancelled the entire procedure and decided that the project would be funded from European funds.

According to a document drafted by the new government, the project would be financed by LIOP European funds (Large Infrastructure Operational Programme) and would cost 1.2 billion euros (VAT included). According to the document quoted, in this scenario the 52 kilometres of mountain highway would be completed within 5 to 6 years (2025 – 2026). For the time being no procedure for appointing the constructions was initiated.

 

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