Budapest, March 26 (MTI) – As Brussels has rejected Hungary’s proposal to go ahead with a project to build the M4 motorway from Budapest in the direction of the Romanian border, the government is working on an alternative plan for a section of the route by creating a four-lane highway connecting Szolnok, in central Hungary, to the existing M5 motorway, cabinet chief Janos Lazar said at a press conference on Thursday.
Hungary submitted the M4 project to the European Commission late in 2013 but withdrew it after the Commission “raised concerns about the high costs”.
Lazar said the investment in its current form would be suspended and a new public procurement procedure launched. In the meantime, it must be clarified how the construction costs came about and how Brussels came to suspect cartel activity.
It said the plan to directly connect, at the very least, Budapest to Szolnok with a four-lane road had been longstanding.
News portal Index said on Wednesday that the cost per kilometre of 4 billion forints had raised suspicion in Brussels of cartel activity.
Nandor Csepreghy, cabinet deputy state secretary, said earlier that if the Commission finds Hungary in breach of cartel laws and imposes a fine, the government would pass this on to the construction companies involved.
Csepreghy told a conference that the ministry was waiting to know if “the suspicions of the EC were confirmed” over the construction of the M4 section between Abony and Fegyvernek in central Hungary.
He added that the government is determined for the motorway to go ahead.