(CN) — Europe's top court chided Greece on Wednesday for overly restricting legal challenges to the way state authorities award public contracts.
The European Court of Justice's ruling came in a dispute over $25.4 million contract for work to extend the subway system in Athens. An English version of the ruling was not immediately available.
NAMA, a Greek technical consultancy firm, was among those volleying for the contract, but Attiko Metro, a state company in charge of developing the Greek capital's subway system, threw out the bid in March 2019, asserting that some of NAMA team members lacked enough experience for the construction work.
The bid went to another technical consultancy business called SALFO, and NAMA then went to court, arguing that it was unfairly rejected.
NAMA appealed when a state review board — the Public Procurement Review Authority — said it could not challenge the approval of SALFO's technical bid.
Greece's Council of State is the country's highest chamber over administrative matters. It said Greek law allows companies to challenge the bids of rivals only when there is an alleged infringement of the principle of equality in the assessment of the bids. But to clear up the matter, the Council of State asked the European court in Luxembourg to determine whether Greece's laws in this area meet the legal standards set down by EU law.
In its ruling, the 10th Chamber of the court said EU rules over the awarding of public contracts give tenderers ample ability to challenge a bid process, even as the process is underway.
Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union.
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