European Commission has threatened Britain with legal proceedings if it doesn’t fully comply with agreed standards set for tenders of defence contracts and immediately close a loophole being exploited by weapons procurement firms located on the Rock of Gibraltar.
The EU-wide rules – agreed and published in the EU Official Journal in July 2009
– are designed to increase transparency and competition in the arms, munitions and security industries while also regulating public contracts for the purchase of arms, ammunition, military equipment and related services throughout Europe.
“These rules are tailored to the specificities of defence and security equipment and markets
,” reads a notice transmitted today by the European Commission
. “The deadline for implementing the rules in question was 20 August 2011. The United Kingdom has not yet transposed the Directive’s provisions with regard to Gibraltar, which means that the measures do not cover its full territory.
“If the UK authorities do not implement it within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Courts of Justice and may request to impose financial penalties,” it continues.
The clampdown would affect firms based in Gibraltar, which include one that
builds armoured troop carriers used in Afghanistan and one that recently landed
a lucrative contract with the US government to supply anti-drug trafficking vehicles.