EU pulls brake on northern metro

The European Commission appears to have pulled the brake on the tender process concerning the building of the Thessaloniki metro, a construction project that has dragged on for the past 20 years. Sources told Kathimerini that the Public Works Ministry has received a letter from the Commission saying that the government should not sign over the deal to a consortium led by construction company AEGEK even though it offered the best deal. The Commission, the source added, is responding to an appeal lodged by a losing consortium which includes J&P AVAX. Companies can appeal decisions in tender processes and therefore block procedure on different grounds, such as questioning the technical merits of the offer that was chosen. The news is another blow to the government, which has been trying to get the project off the ground. Greece had said that it would have a company chosen in time for the Thessaloniki International Fair that took place in September The Thessaloniki metro is one of the eight large infrastructure projects currently running in Greece that reach 8 billion euros in total. A large part of these costs are co-funded by the European Union.