State aid: Commission approves Croatian plans enabling €204 million of investments for expansion of Istrian Y motorway
Since 1995, the motorway has been operated by Bina-Istra under a concession agreement. The Commission approved amendments and the prolongation of the concession in June 2018 (SA.48472) and in August 2020 (SA.56832). The concession is set to expire in June 2039.
Croatia notified to the Commission its plans to prolong the concession until 2041 to allow Bina-Istra to engage in additional works worth €204 million. The prolongation will allow Bina-Istra (i) to build a second carriageway between the Učka tunnel/Kvarner portal and the Matulji interchange, on the north-eastern section of the motorway, and (ii) to complete the second carriageway of the north-western section.
The Commission examined the measure under EU state aid rules on services of general economic interest (‘SGEI’), which allow member states, under certain conditions, to compensate companies that have been entrusted with public service obligations for the extra cost of providing these services, as well as under EU public procurement rules, in particular the EU Directive on the award of concession contracts (Directive 2014/23/EU). The Commission found that the measure is necessary and appropriate to ensure the safety of the motorway and to reduce traffic congestion. Moreover, the Commission concluded that the measure is proportionate as Bina-Istra will not be overcompensated, and it will not distort competition and trade between member states. On this basis, the Commission approved the Croatian measure under EU state aid rules.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.103361 in the state aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.
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