Veolia and the legal basis for exclusion from public contracts
Veolia’s activities clearly constitute misconduct sufficiently grave to warrant the exclusion of its subsidiaries from public contracts inIreland. In addition Veolia’s conduct in the aiding, abetting and facilitation of war crimes and human rights violations should mark them for exclusion from all public contracts including council contracts.
1. EU directive on public procurement
Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 31st March 2004* on the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public services contracts.
Article 45 of Directive 2004/18/EC12 provides that:
In accordance with article 45(1) or 45(2) of directive 2004/18/EC any firm may be excluded from participation in tender competitions who: Has been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authorities can justify.
Currently a lawyer from Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) has overseen significant research that makes a strong legal case for local authorities to exlude Veolia Environmental Services from bidding for local authority contracts. This will enable campaigners to challenge local authorities with compelling arguments to exclude Veolia for ‘grave misconduct’ based on the current EU and national procurement law.
It is hoped that a legal challenge will soon be mounted in the UK to prevent a local authority renewing its contract with Veolia. Once the lawyer’s initial letter has been drafted it will be made available to all campaigners so they can adapt it for use to challenge local authorities themselves. Councils without contracts with Veolia could be asked to exclude them from any future bidding; those with contracts due for renewal in the next year or two could be asked not to renew them; and those with long term contracts might even be asked to terminate them.
2 . Veolia’s violations of international standards for business enterprises
In addition Veolia violates international standards specifically established for business enterprises:
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2008) which set out voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a variety of areas including human rights and;
Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights (2008) prepared by John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. See below for more information.
The Veolia Group is one commercial entity. It is clear from the parent company’s annual reports and website#that the company is one coherent whole and so the misconduct of one division is the misconduct of Veolia as a whole and all divisions and subsidiaries are implicated. Through Veolia’s subsidiaries participation in the CityPass consortium project, the bus lines and the landfill, the whole Veolia Group, including its subsidiaries operating in Ireland, is implicated in facilitating Israel’s violation of Articles 49 and 53 of the 4th
Geneva Convention. These violations in some cases, inEast Jerusalemand the rest of theOccupiedPalestinianTerritories, amount to grave breaches of the Convention (i.e. war crimes).
# Veolia Environnement, http://www.veolia.com/en/group/