• The EU Commission has just published rules on international procurement markets that would give the Commission powers to block contracts worth over €5 million. In the event of "repeated and serious discrimination against European suppliers" in non-EU countries, the Commission would also have powers to block access to the EU market.
UKIP MEP William Dartmouth, a full member of the International Trade Committee in the European Parliament (INTE) and EFD Group coordinator on this committee said in response today:
"This shows whatever the intentions of this regulation it is a clear attack on the national sovereignty of states. The UK would be better off negotiating its own trade deals. At the moment, trade negotiations are carried out on our behalf by the EU.
"It is completely unacceptable. It shows how the EU is not a free trade area but a customs union where trade barriers are mandatory."
Key aspects of the proposal for a Regulation:
• The Commission may approve that EU contracting authorities, for contracts above €5 million, exclude tenders comprising a significant part of foreign goods and services where these contracts are not covered by existing international agreements.
• In the event of repeated and serious discrimination against European suppliers in non-EU countries, the Commission will have at its disposal a mechanism allowing it to restrict access to the EU market, if the country outside the EU does not engage in negotiations to address market access imbalances. Any restrictive measures will be targeted, for example by excluding tenders originating in a non-EU country or imposing a price penalty.