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Subway Construction: secret memoranda, mysterious report and some public procurement violation

From the whole story of the construction of the Belgrade subway so far, it can be concluded that the companies from China and France will be involved in the work, that the source of financing is not yet known and that the provisions of the Law on Public Procurement and the Law on Public-Private Partnershipwhich make mandatory bidding for a job, will not be implemented.

Instead of Serbia and Belgrade, as contracting authorities, being aware in advance what they need, so they would look for a constructor to conduct the work, it seems that arrangements are made right now even on the subject of the works.

Previously, plans for the metro routes have already been modified so as to adapt to the needs of investors of one current and several future projects, instead of finding a solution to the transportation problems of existing urban settlements first.

During the visit of the French President and members of the delegation, two members of the Government of Serbia and the Deputy Mayor of Belgrade met with the delegations of the French companies “Ežis” and “Alstom” on the implementation of the “Belgrade Metro” project.

The Prime Minister announced that French and Chinese companies would bring new technologies to the project. This means that a decision has already been made on their engagement, although no procedure has been implemented.

At the same time, she stated that "the most important thing is to determine an adequate financing structure for the project", which indicates that the money has not yet been provided.

“At the meeting it was stated, among other things, that for the successful realization of the project it is important to find a model that will enable each of the participants, in accordance with the knowledge and technology at their disposal, to make the greatest contribution, and what will be discussed in the coming period. "

A report from the Government's website indicates that "there have been talks about the next steps and how the project will be implemented, emphasizing the importance of speeding up the process to start construction by the end of next year." Serbian public is not informed of what steps could be taken.

Readers are left to figure out what the content of the studies the company „Ežis“is working on. Namely, the report says that the French firm "recently completed a previous feasibility study, and is currently doing a feasibility study."

At the end of the report from the session, another puzzling sentence was found: "The interlocutors concluded that both sides want the Belgrade subway to be a successful project, but also to continue discussions with Chinese company “Power China”, with which the Memorandum of Cooperation was signed, regarding the realization of the “Belgrade Metro” project.

Thus, it remained unclear who would hold talks with the Chinese company about the construction of the subway, why it was necessary to stress that both sides want the "Belgrade subway" to be a successful project, whether "successful" meant that the Serbian and French agreements were successful sides or the construction itself etc.

At least part of these questions could be answered by considering the commitments Serbia has already made to its Chinese partners. However, the Belgrade metro agreement was refused by the Ministry of Construction to provide Transparency, citing the confidentiality of the agreement and the lack of consent of the Chinese apartment for disclosure.