Nov 18, 2016

Hungary's nuclear power plant to be expanded after EC approves Russian deal

The Paks II plant will be refurbished and expanded after the EC closed the infringement procedure brought against Hungary

Hungary's Paks II plant will be refurbished and expanded following the European Commission's approval of a Russian-backed deal.

"The European Commission has closed the infringement procedure brought against Hungary in connection with the refurbishment of the Paks atomic power station in the context of public procurements," János Lázár, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, has said.

Brussels instituted the proceedings two years ago, and the latest decision means that the Commission no longer disputes Hungary’s right to come to an agreement with Russia regarding the power station construction project and a related credit facility, the minister said.

Pursuant to the decision of the European Commission, Hungary did not infringe the Public Procurement Directive through the conclusion of the agreement, he said, continuing: the Hungarian government had the right to enter into an agreement which partially disregards the Public Procurement Directive with regard to the fixed technical specifications.

Those who claimed otherwise – such as Benedek Jávor, Member of the European Parliament for Párbeszéd – "have suffered a spectacular defeat," Lázár said, who took the view that Mr. Jávor, who has filed dozens of reports against Hungary in the case since 2014, should consider whether he should continue his political career.

Based on this, the minister believes there is a realistic chance that the construction works related to capacity maintenance may begin in 2017-18. He added that Hungary agreed to apply the EU’s public procurement norms in 55 percent of the value of the project. He further said: the investigation regarding prohibited state aid is also about to be brought to a conclusion. The government will receive the relevant documents next week, as expected.