European Commission - Press release
Internal Market: Commission acts to ensure implementation of EU rules in the area of defence procurement
Brussels, 26 January 2012 - The European Commission has today acted to ensure that two Member States (Germany and The Netherlands) comply with their obligations to implement EU rules on defence procurement. The Commission is concerned that they have failed to fulfil their commitments under the Directive regarding procurement of arms, munitions and war material (and related works and services) for defence purposes, and also the procurement of sensitive supplies, works and services for security purposes. If the Directive is not fully implemented in all Member States, companies and taxpayers alike cannot reap the benefits of easier access to a transparent and open - hence more competitive - defence market.
These rules are tailored to the specificities of defence and security equipment and markets (2009/81/EC). The deadline for implementing the rules in question was 20 August 2011. Timely and correct implementation of the Directive is necessary to achieve this aim. The Commission's request to Germany and The Netherlands takes the form of a reasoned opinion. If the national authorities do not reply satisfactorily within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice and ask for the payment of financial penalties.
What is the aim of the EU rule in question?
The Directive introduces at European level:
It covers specific security and defence procurement contracts for:
Procurement of non-sensitive and non-military equipment, works and services by contracting authorities in the fields of defence and security is covered by the general public procurement Directive 2004/18/EC.
Both directives are subject to Article 346 of the Treaty, which means that EU countries can exempt defence and security contracts where the rules of Directive 2009/81/EC are not sufficient to safeguard their essential security interests.
How are Member States not respecting this rule?
While the majority of the Member States have either fully implemented the Directive or are finalising the adoption of transposing measures, in these two Member States - Germany and The Netherlands - all of the Directive's provisions still have to be implemented and the transposition process is very slow.
Latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States:
For more information on infringement procedures, see MEMO/12/42
Arms, munitions and war material included in the 1958 list which defines the scope of Article 346 of the Treaty