Up to eight companies will be invited to bid by the end of September for the contract, which is scheduled to start in January. The award is subject to the conclusion of a Eur 53 million ($64 million) financing agreement, under the EU’s MEDA economic development programme, expected to be signed in October between Brussels and Damascus.

The agreement also covers a Eur 6 million ($7 million) grant to modernise the country’s banking sector, a Eur 21 million ($25 million) grant to develop vocational training in the textiles sector and a Eur 18 million ($22 million) grant to modernise six city administrations (MEED 18:6:04).