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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 19.02.2019, 15:13

Lithuanian association complains to Brussels over road maintenance cos' overhaul

BC, Vilnius, 12.07.2018.Print version
Lietuvos Keliai (Lithuanian Roads), an association of road and street construction and maintenance businesses, has complained to the European Commission over the Transport Ministry's decisions that led to an overhaul of road construction enterprises and the establishment of a single state enterprise named Keliu Prieziura (Road Maintenance), informed LETA/BNS.

The Transport Ministry says that Keliu Prieziura often carries out works that attract no interest from privately-owned businesses.

Rimvydas Gradauskas, head of Lietuvos Keliai, says that the association on June 15 turned to the EU's executive body over what it describes as unlawful state aid and market monopolization. 

"Without any public procurement procedure or other competitive procedure, the state enterprise Keliu Prieziura was granted a monopoly to provide state road maintenance services and was allocated 79 mln euros in state budget funds," Gradauskas said in a press release.  

"Moreover, the state-supported business goes to competitive markets, forcing out businesses that do not have such support and privileges," he said. 

According to the association, the ministry's decisions run counter to the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that prohibit market monopolization and unlawful state aid.

Deputy Transport Minister Paulius Martinkus says, however, that the transfer of control of Keliu Prieziura to the Transport Ministry helped to put in place additional safeguards by separating the customer from the supplier.

He noted that Keliu Prieziura very often carries out small-scale contract works that privately-owned road companies take no interest in and that attract no bids. 

As part of the overhaul of state road maintenance enterprises that was completed in late October 2017, nine regional road maintenance enterprises and the state enterprise Automagistrale were merged into Kauno Regiono Keliai (Kaunas Regional Roads), which was renamed Keliu Prieziura

Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis said in February 2017 that there had been signs of corruption at the enterprises and that the overhaul had been brewing for years. 

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