Corbyn Doesn’t Understand EU Military Procurement Rules

Jeremy Corbyn is in Govan today arguing that all Royal Navy ships should be built in the UK. It is thought a £1 billion contract for three Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ships could go to a foreign shipyard. Currently the Navy builds warships in UK yards but non-combat ships can be built abroad…

Labour’s appeal sounds uncharacteristically patriotic – though it is union influence which is driving Corbyn. The GMB has been running a campaign on the issue. There’s just one issue…

Veterans for Britain and UKIP point out that Corbyn’s plans are not possible because of the EU’s Defence Directive. David Banks from Veterans for Britain explains:

“Although Mr Corbyn will cite the ‘defence exemption’ (Article 346 TEU), this does not provide a general exemption from international or EU-wide tendering for government defence contracts. The exemption is only for the most sensitive items of manufacture where an EU-wide tender would put national security interests at risk. The EU tightened these rules further in 2016. The only way to achieve what Mr Corbyn is (rightly) demanding is to leave the EU Defence Directive. The directive stifles UK options in procurement, jobs and strategic capability.”<>

UKIP Defence Spokesman Mike Hookem adds:

”While I agree these RFA ships should be built in the UK; Article 346 of the Treaties demand that military procurement contracts are open to tender across the EU. While there is an exception clause, only the most sensitive items can be guarded for domestic contracts. RFA ships are none front line vessels and therefore, do not qualify as sensitive. Labour either don’t understand EU rules on military procurement contracts or are deliberately trying to mislead the public.”

Jezza all at sea on on this one…

UPDATE: Major-General Julian Thompson, commander of Royal Marines landings in the Falklands War, said:

“We would urge all parties to take a detailed look at the effect that EU policy has on UK interests in this area. We also should not remain associated with a joint EU strategy which would stop the UK making key democratic decisions about preserving essential skills, securing strategic sites, and safeguarding jobs. That is what’s currently being proposed by DExEU civil servants and negotiators via their bid to stay in the EU’s pervasive defence industrial plan, EDIDP.”




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