concession to build and operate Trakia Motorway, from the border with Serbia at Kalotina to Bourgas on the Black Sea coast through Sofia, Plovdiv and Stara Zagora, BTA reported.
The contract for the award of a 35-year build-and-operate concession for the motorway was awarded in 2004 to Magistrali Trakia AD, a 51-49 Portuguese-Bulgarian consortium. The concession was a target of much criticism over lack of transparency in the award procedure: the concessionaire was selected without a competition. In 2007 the activation of the concession was made conditional on the concessionnaire ensuring a bank loan. The deadline for that expired last week and the concessionnaire made it clear that none is available.
At its Thursday meeting, the government authorized the Ministers of Regional Development and Public Works and of Finance to explore other options for building the motorway section from Stara Zagora to Karnobat.
The Regional Development Minister was asked to notify the European Commission of the cancellation of the concession agreement.
Speaking to the press last week, Regional Development Minister Assen Gagaouzov said that a new competitive procedure would be opened to award a contract for the construction of the missing link (just over 100 km) of Trakia Motorway and construction work could start three months from now.