The European Commission has referred the Czech Republic to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to comply with its obligation to award public supply contracts on the basis of public tenders. In April 2008, the Czech Republic Ministry of Defence directly awarded a public supply contract worth €132m for four unarmed military transport aircraft without organising a tendering procedure. The Czech authorities relied on the “essential security interests” exemption which permits supply contracts for military materials to be awarded without a public tender if a tender would put the essential security interests of the relevant Member State at risk. In May 2009, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to the Czech authorities asking it to state why it thought that holding a public tender would put the essential security interests of the State at risk. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission has referred the case to the ECJ.