European Commission requests Italy to comply with Court judgment on helicopter supply contracts
The European Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to formally request Italy to comply with a 2008 judgment of the European Court of Justice.
In that judgment (case C-337/05), the Court ruled that Italy had failed to fulfil its obligations under EU Public Procurement Directives, by following the long-standing practice of directly awarding contracts for the purchase of Agusta and Agusta Bell helicopters to meet the requirements of several military and civilian corps to Agusta SpA, without any competitive tendering procedure.
The Commission considers that the Italian authorities have not taken the necessary measures to comply with the judgment of the Court, which obliges them to put an end to the illegal practice.
The Italian authorities argued that the supply contracts awarded in the framework of the illegal practice cannot be re-tendered, as they are almost entirely executed. As to future purchases of helicopters, the Italian authorities committed themselves to comply with the EU public procurement rules but they did not provide information on the purchases that have been planned or envisaged, even in the long term.
The Commission believes that the execution of the Court's judgement requires, at least, that Italy takes appropriate measures to ensure that EU public procurement rules will be complied with in the future and that the Commission is regularly provided with information on the procedures that will be followed in the future for the purchase of helicopters, for a period of time proportionate to that during which the illegal practice continued.
The Commission considers that this information is necessary in order to verify whether such illegal practice has been stopped.
Therefore, the Commission has requested Italy to comply immediately with the Court judgement. The requests take the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under Article 228 of the EC Treaty.
If the Italian authorities do not comply within two months, the Commission may refer the case to the Court and ask the Court to impose a lump sum or penalty payment on Italy.
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