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Suspension of Latvian Railways Procurement Means Risks that Latvia May Face Criticism From EU About Inability to Absorb EU Financing

BC, Riga, 12.11.2019.Print version
NVO IMPACT 2040 is a non-governmental organisation which investigates the extent to which good governance principles are observed and monitors the use of funding from the European Union. It has informed the European Commission about the fact that funding from the 2014-2020 Cohesion planning period that was meant for the development and construction of the Daugavpils sorting station has instead been diverted to other, unknown purposes, and has suddenly been brought to an end. The planned funding for the project was nearly EUR 36 mln.

"Neither Latvian Railways, nor any institution that is responsible for the implementation of EU projects in Latvia has offered public information about whether such unilateral decisions were taken when amending relevant national development planning documents which defined national budget and EU funding goals through 2020," says NGO IMPACT 2040 board member Anita Laima Lancmane.  


"We also cannot understand why Latvian Railways (and, perhaps, the Ministry of Transport, which is the responsible institution) has decided to suspend the repeated procurement procedure (with respect to which the Procurement Oversight Bureau previously demanded that identified mistakes in procurement documentation which limited competition be addressed) and to review its priorities and those of Latvia only after the bids for tender in the procurement process were already received and opened.  This practice casts a shadow over the procurement procedures of state-owned capital enterprises, and does not speak in favour of good governance and the transparency of procedures."

 

It must be noted that a progress report about the partnership agreement during the European Union's investment fund for the 2014-2020 planning period still says that the plan is to increase the efficiency of the infrastructure of railroad nodes in Rīga and Daugavpils by building a new point of entry and departure park in Daugavpils, modernising the distribution process, and installing a second rail line between Mangaļi and Ziemeļblāzma.[1]  "Given that the railroad's desire to develop its infrastructure and to reduce CO2 emissions by moving road transport loads to the railroad are key EU requirements, we simply cannot understand why the relevant institutions in Latvia have suspended and hindered the implementation of such strategically important projects," says Lancmane.  "In this context, I must also mention another strategically important project -- the electrification of the Latvian rail network.  This is a project which is seriously delayed in terms of the planned schedule, and that creates the risk that EU requirements and government goals in terms of cutting CO2 emissions in rail transport and in making fundamental infrastructural improvements will not be reached."






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