Defence Procurement: Dutch Authorities  resolve dispute with the EU Commission successfully
Photo by Stephanie Klepacki

Defence Procurement: Dutch Authorities resolve dispute with the EU Commission successfully

It goes without saying that seeing your research work having an impact is fulfilling. The satisfaction is double when that impact relates to a noble and right cause. The protection of the national security requirements within the EU family, is such a cause.

I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to advise the Dutch authorities to reach a successful conclusion in the infringement proceedings that the European Commission had instituted against The Netherlands. A bit of background is useful here.

In 2018 the European Commission started infringement proceedings against the Netherlands and 4 other EU Member States alleging violations of EU defence and security procurement rules.

In its letter of formal notice to the Netherlands, the Commission stated that:

“…the Commission is concerned that [the Netherlands] have imposed unjustified offset requirements demanding compensation from non-national suppliers when purchasing defence equipment from them. Offset requirements are restrictive measures which hinder the free movement of goods and services and are incompatible both with the EU Treaty and with the correct transposition and application of the Directive.” [Emphasis added]

I have always argued, (from my doctoral thesis European Defence Procurement Integration: Proposals for Action within the European Union and in my other writings about EU defence procurement law and policy, for example here , here and here), that although there is no automatic exemption of the defence market from the rules and principles of EU Law, Member States have, nevertheless, a wider margin of discretion to adopt measures and practices that accommodate and serve their essential security interests in the field of defence procurement, including defence industrial policy.

“…although there is no automatic exemption of the defence market from the rules and principles of EU Law, Member States have, nevertheless, a wider margin of discretion to adopt measures and practices that accommodate and serve their essential security interests in the field of defence procurement, including defence industrial policy”

I am very glad that my legal analysis and advice assisted the Dutch Authorities to define and defend their position successfully. This is a good result also for the integrity and competitiveness of the European Defence Industrial and Technological base as a whole.

“This is a good result also for the integrity and competitiveness of the European Defence Industrial and Technological base as a whole.”

I am completing a paper which proposes specific improvements to the regulatory and policy framework of the European defence and security procurement market. Comments and ideas are particularly welcome. So watch this space!

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Defence Procurement: Dutch Authorities resolve dispute with EU Commission successfully