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Bulgaria inks amended deal for key motorway

Date: 29.04.2007

Bulgaria's Regional Development Minister Assen Gagauzov and representatives of a Portuguese-Bulgarian consortium signed on Thursday the amended deal to complete Trakia motorway.

The Bulgarian cabinet approved last month the amended deal with the consortium, picked to build the remaining 116 kilometers of the motorway and then operate it.

The initial contract came under fire forbeen granted without a tender and for some controversial clauses, such as Bulgarian government guarantees for the loans taken by the consortium to build the motorway.

The annex signed on Thursday strikes out the clauses and drastically improves the deal for Bulgarian authorities, Gagauzov said at the signing ceremony.

Under the new terms, the price paid by the Bulgarian government remains the same - EUR 2,7 M per kilometer, while also dropping also the minimum traffic guarantees that the consortium asked for.

The deal will go ahead after Eurostat, the European Union's statistics bureau, will issue a ruling on whether the amended deal breaks any EU rules on state aid.

The motorway stretches between Bulgaria's western border and the Black Sea port city of Burgas, passing through capital Sofia and the country's second biggest city, Plovdiv.

When completed, Trakia will be part of the pan-European transport corridor 8, linking the Bulgarian Black Sea coast with Albania's Adriatic port of Durres and the Italian ports of Bari and Brindisi.

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