The non-military aspects of a joint venture between General Electric Company, United Kingdom and Finmeccanica, Italy have been cleared by the European Commission concerning ground and naval radars, missile systems, air traffic control, command and control systems, simulation and training systems.

It is important to note that the military aspects of this transaction have not been notified. This was made possible by the application of Article 223 of the Treaty on the European Union, which entitles a member state to take measures necessary for its essential security interests connected with the supply of armaments. The information given by the United Kingdom and the Italian governments to the European Commission was acceptable and the two countries did not have to notify the military aspects of the joint venture.

It seems also that the non-military applications of the joint venture only would generate a minor part of the joint venture's turnover and relates to the air traffic control/air traffic management systems, civil command, control and information systems and civil simulation and training systems.

From the Commission's point of view there was an overlap bertween the activities of the two parties in these areas, the combined market shares were low and other important European and American producers are present in the European Economic Area. These elements permitted the Commission to decide that the operation does not create or strengthen a dominant position on any market, and the Commission therefore decided not to oppose the concentration and to declare it compatible with the common market.

This article is based and incorporates information provided by the European Commission (Press releases) and is intended for general information. Specialist advice should be sought before acting on it.