The Strategist

British De La Rue loses the contract to produce UK passports

03/23/2018 - 04:29

The British company De La Rue, produces banknotes, stamps, stamped paper and passports for many countries of the world, reported that it failed to win a contract for printing new British passports, which will be issued after the United Kingdom leaves the EU. The French-Dutch company Gemalto is called the most likely manufacturer.

Chris Fleming via flickr
Chris Fleming via flickr
Supporters and even many opponents of Brexit first thought this was a bad joke. The British company De La Rue, the manufacturer of stamped paper, passports, banknotes and stamps for many countries of the world, has lost the contract for the production of British passports. The most likely manufacturer of new passports is the French-Dutch company Gemalto.

The irony is that the idea of issuing new passports for the citizens of the United Kingdom by the British government was viewed almost as a symbol of the restoration of full sovereignty. For decades, British passports large-sized, blue with gold, with a characteristic oval for handwriting the owner's name and series and the passport number have been recognizable all over the world. In 1988, in accordance with the EU directive, the passports of all EU member states were maximally unified. The size, color of the cover - burgundy and the inscription "European Union" over the emblem of the country became mandatory.

After voting on Brexit, the authorities made it clear that the European design of passports will also go down in the past along with membership in the EU.
In February, speaking in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Teresa May confirmed that citizens of the United Kingdom will receive new passports after leaving the EU: "It is absolutely true that from the autumn of 2019 we will start issuing new passports in a blue and gold range, which has always been the United Kingdom’s choice for their passports. It is absolutely true that after leaving the European Union we will return to the situation when the color of our passport will be the one that we, not the European Union, like."

The Ministry of the Interior held a competition, and De La Rue lost this contest, offering a more expensive option. Representative of the opposition Labor Party John Spellar noted that "no other European country does that."

In turn, the CEO of De La Rue Martin Sutherland promised to protest the decision and invited Teresa May to visit the company’s manufacture and explain in person why the government "considers it right to transfer the manufacture of one of the icons of Britain abroad."
Mr. Sutherland acknowledged that his company’s bid was outbargained, but noted that the competition itself was unfair. In France, he said, De La Rue would not have allowed even to participate in the competition for the production of a French passport. 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs responded that it was conducting an "open and fair competition aimed at ensuring that we will receive a high-quality and protected product at the best price in accordance with the new contract... We do not require that passports be manufactured in the United Kingdom. At present, some of the forms for passports are made abroad, and there is no reason... to change this provision." The ministry refused to confirm the victory of Gemalto, saying that a final decision has not been taken yet.


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