The heavy condemnation of the company Euro MC, specialist in electromagnetic protection, raises questions about the loss of influence of French companies in the sensitive field of Defence.
Last year, our colleague “The letter A” evoked a file as sensitive as it is incomprehensible, involving the Atomic Energy Commission. An exceptionally long dispute – ten years – which resulted in an extremely heavy court decision against Euro MC. This high-tech French SME, undisputed specialist in electromagnetic protection in the broad sense (shielding and electrodynamic systems) located in the Paris region, is of capital interest in the field of Defence.
Experiments in a Faraday cage
The dispute relates to the installation of an anechoic chamber in the CEA premises in Grenoble. This Faraday cage, a prototype implanted on a surface of 240 m², was to allow researchers and industrialists to carry out experiments in an environment protected from electromagnetic waves.
Barely completed in 2010, this chamber was the subject of a certain number of criticisms from the CEA. Euro MC, which has joined forces with other foreign service providers, but which acts as prime contractor, is accused of poor workmanship. The state body highlights a number of technical and aesthetic anomalies that would prevent the proper functioning of the room.
A very heavy sentence for Euro MC
For reasons that are still difficult to pinpoint today – the CEA did not wish to answer our questions – the situation is blocked. Despite proposals for changes from the SME, no agreement could be reached. Remained the recourse to the legal procedure.
With a very heavy condemnation for Euro MC and its partners: a fine of 1.7 million euros, substantially the equivalent of the initial contract. This decision has been appealed, but it is not suspensive. The only application of the judgment in first instance would mean not only a receivership for Euro MC, but above all the risk of a takeover of the SME, most probably by a foreign group. This once again raises the question of the loss of influence of French companies in the sensitive area of Defence.
What was the CEA’s interest in bringing this SME to the ground? Isn’t it entitled to protect sensitive technologies and the service providers who work for it? Questions that we are entitled to ask ourselves and which, for the moment, remain unanswered.