The Commission is taking the Netherlands to the European Court of Justice over the direct award of a pubic works concession in relation to a land development project in Eindhoven. In 2007, the Municipality of Eindhoven agreed to allow a developer to build and operate a community centre on land which the Municipality owned but had agreed to sell to the developer. The contract was awarded after two local operators were invited to bid. However, no public tender under the procurement rules was undertaken. The Dutch Government considers that the arrangement was essentially a land transaction and outside the scope of the public procurement rules since the developer realises the project at his own risk and is not receiving any direct payment. The Commission however, takes the view that the main objective of the contract was not the sale of land but the execution of public works. It considers that the municipality has a direct economic benefit from the project and that its role was decisive and goes beyond the exercise of its urban-planning powers. According to the Commission, the municipality imposed obligations on the developer to realise specific building requirements and provided it with a ‘tailor-made’ building licence to construct and exploit the work.
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Infringement case launched over land development project in the Netherlands
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