The Council and the European Parliament formally adopted a directive introducing new national review procedures for breaches of procurement law on 15 November 2007, following political agreement on the text in May. There is a requirement that contracting authorities comply with a minimum 10 days "standstill" obligation to give bidders an opportunity to challenge the decision if they consider there was a breach. This system already exists in the UK. What will change the current law are the provisions designed to combat illegal direct awards of public contracts involving a serious breach of the rules. In such cases, national courts can declare the resulting contract ineffective and require that it is re-tendered. Where there are overriding reasons in the general interest as to why the contract needs to remain in force, the national courts can apply alternative penalties provided these are proportionate, effective and dissuasive. The directive requires that the new rules be introduced at the national level within the next two years.