ECONOMY

Metro extension tenders draw legal challenges

Legal challenges and appeals concerning the tenders for the Athens metro line extensions are piling up. Bidders are complaining about the Public Works Ministry’s shortlisting of the same four Greek and foreign consortiums both for the Line 2 extension from Aghios Dimitrios to Hellenikon, budgeted at 350 million euros, and the Line 3 extension from Aegaleo to Haidari (200 million euros). On Aug. 3 the multinational group ABB sought recourse with the European Commission, complaining that its consortium was eliminated from the Line 3 extension project and suggesting that the evaluation committee had rejected the bid of the consortium led by Greece’s Michaniki and ABB Switzerland through a formalistic interpretation of the tender terms. A few days ago a Portuguese consortium that had been eliminated in the shortlisting process served notice to the ministry of its intention to sue Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias after his statement that the four shortlisted consortiums would submit bids for the Line 2 extension next month, despite an appeal by the Portuguese that could still overrule the shortlisting. Foreign groups allege that the chaotic framework of public works tenders allows for committees to decide as they like. In one instance they accepted clarifications on documents, while in another they did not; documents allegedly have a different value according to which consortium has submitted them.