A new measure to open up defense procurement by European countries to greater competition is finally coming into force this year. In January 2009 the European Parliament approved the European directive on defense and security procurement, which should greatly increase the percentage of defense contract opportunities that EU governments offer to bidders from other European countries.
The new law also allows manufacturers to apply for a general license to export specific defense equipment within the EU, rather than seeking permission for each sale. Previously, the EU encouraged member states to publish contract opportunities on the Web site of the European Defence Agency. Still, it is estimated that less than one fifth of European defense procurement is publicly notified in this way as required.
“European industries will get a much larger ‘home’ market with longer production runs and economies of scale,” promised Charlie McCreevey, the EU internal market commissioner.