TRAKIYA HIGHWAY CASE TO DISENTANGLE IN AUTUMN
Just like the concession of the Bulgarian seaside airports, the future of the Trakiya highway will be known next autumn. On June 29, the Supreme Administrative Court scheduled for October 11 the case initiated against the cabinet's decision to give the highway to the Bulgarian-Portuguese consortium Trakiya Highway AD without organising a tender or a competition. The Deputy Prosecutor General, Mityo Markov, will be the complainant in the process, the Council of Ministers will be the defendant, and the concessionary will be an interested party.The correspondence was initiated after a warning by Mityo Markov who asked in early June that the supreme magistrates declare the government's December 30, 2004 decision void (the government decided to give the highway on concession for a 35-year term). The Deputy of the Chief Prosecutor claims that the decision contradicts art. 8, paragraph 1 of the Concessions Act which stipulates that a concessionary can only be chosen through a competition or a tender. He also claims that basing the decision on section 3b of the transitional and final regulations of the act which allows the Council of Ministers to give companies on concession without a tender or a competition is groundless. A 1998 resolution of the Constitutional Court is explicit that the possibility in question does not refer to initial concessions. The regulation aimed at providing relative stability in the statute of public-owned sites already ceded for use. As to the highway, neither the concessionary Trakiya Highway nor the companies it involves (the Portuguese Lena Engenharia E Contrucoes, MSF-Moniz Da Maia, SerraFortunato-Empreiteiros, and Somague Concessoe E Servicos, and the Bulgarian Highways EAD and Technoexportstroy) had any rights over the road, therefore the transitional regulation of the Concessions Act is inapplicable.According to Mr. Markov, the violation makes the government's decision void. As a result, the highway concession agreement signed on March 29, 2005 appears invalid.