Budapest, January 12 (MTI) – The European Commission’s summary position on the Paks II nuclear power station project includes “several inaccuracies, misunderstandings as well as baseless and misleading remarks,” according to the Hungarian government.
Commenting on the paper published in the Official Journal of the European Union maintaining that the project receives state aid, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday that the Paks II project will prove competitive and profitable under free market conditions, so there is no need for state support.
The EC position originally taken on Nov. 23 last year also demonstrates that after nearly two years of consultations concerning competition rights, the EC has failed to present well-founded arguments proving false the Hungarian position that the project does not involve state.
As European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has said, “given the size and importance of the Paks project,” the EC needs more time to carry out an in-depth investigation into Hungarian investment support for Paks II. The opening of an in-depth inquiry gives interested third parties an opportunity to comment on the measure, the statement added.
According to the Hungarian government, revenues from Paks II will be sufficient to cover all costs incurred and the investment’s rate of return will be in line with the expectations of market investors. This has been confirmed in a detailed analysis prepared by the Rothschild banking house. This can be viewed in full on the project company’s website and the government website on kormany.hu.
The EC’s Nov. 23 decision disregards an important matter from the point of state support, namely that in the Finnish nuclear power station project Hanhikivi 1, which is similar in its technical aspects to the Paks II project, private investors have been involved under a consortium, and they expect a sufficient rate of return. Despite the fact that consortium also includes local governments and Russian state players, the EC has not put a question mark over whether the “Finnish sister project” is indeed carried out on market terms without state aid, the statement said.
The EC has asked third-parties to make comments in connection with the possible presence of state aid when this has not been proven in any way, the PM’s office said. Contrary to the suggestions made by the EC, the Hungarian government has always responded to EC requests over the past two years and provided all information needed to make an assessment, the statement added.
The Hungarian government is ready to undergo a formal inquiry and maintains the position that the investment project does not involve state aid, the statement said.