31 May 2007 | Antony Barton
The Welsh Assembly is free to proceed with its public sector IT programme after receiving the green light from the European Commission (EC).
The EC announced this week it will not object as the programme does not constitute state aid. The UK authorities informed the EC of the project in January.
The programme, which is in its final stages, aims to provide the Welsh public sector with a high bandwidth network. It will improve the delivery of services, while mostly using existing network infrastructure.
Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The commission is satisfied that the procedure is compliant with the EU's public procurement directives and suitable for achieving best value for money."
The commission took into account factors including: the users of the network do not carry out economic activities and do not qualify as undertakings under the state aid rules; the award of the contract does not provide any economic advantage to the service provider that would go beyond market conditions; and the procurement does not give an advantage to third party operators.