EXCLUSIVE By James Bryce
THE EU has ordered the closure of a loophole being exploited by weapons procurement firms on the Rock.
The directive states the UK Government could face tough financial penalties if it fails to bring Gibraltar in line with other EU states within two months.
The new rules – originally implemented in August 2011 – are designed to increase transparency and competition in the arms, munitions and security industries.
“The United Kingdom has not yet transposed the Directive’s provisions with regard to Gibraltar, which means that the measures do not cover its full territory,” the notice states.
It added that: “If the UK authorities do not implement it within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Courts of Justice and may request to impose financial penalties.”
The clampdown will affect firms including Gibraltar-based conglomerate Bland Group International, which builds armoured troop carriers used in Afghanistan.
Also subject to the new guidelines will be Gibraltarian company AADS, which recently landed a lucrative contract with the US Government to supply anti-drug trafficking vehicles, as reported in the Olive Press.