Italy has been formally requested to provide information to the European Commission concerning a decree by its Minister of Justice in 2003 which authorised the building of several prisons without the requirement that the public works contracts go out to tender under the procurement rules. Italy considers that the contracts concerned were exempted from public tender under the exception applicable to contracts subject to tight security requirements and for reasons of urgency. The Commission however disputes the valid application of either of these exclusions to the facts in this case.