31 August 2010 | Angeline Albert
Veolia Environnement has criticised attempts by British councillors to ban it from tendering for local authority contracts because of its light railway work linking Israel to East Jerusalem’s disputed territories.
Councillors from the City and County of Swansea Council (CCSC) and Dublin City Council (DCC) have called for the French multinational firm and its subsidiaries to be banned from bidding for their contracts because of its links to the controversial Israeli construction work.
A spokesman for Veolia said: “The guidance on European procurement law is quite specific and, there is no basis to prevent our lawful participation in relevant procurement processes. We believe the project is not contrary to international law but have consistently confirmed our position that we would respect any final ruling by a recognised international court. Our employees in the UK are committed to providing quality service to their local communities.”
Motions calling for the ban on Veolia bids have been successfully passed at meetings of CCSC and DCC. Despite passing the motions, both councils admitted the implementation of such a ruling could not go ahead because it would be contrary to procurement rules. A spokesman for DCC said: “The motion was put and carried. It was further agreed this motion would be circulated to other local authorities. However procurement of supplies, services and works is a matter exclusively for the city manager and staff, who must have regard to procurement law.”
The motion passed at Swansea calls on the council “to support the position of the UN in regards to the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant legislation”.