On January 27th, 2011, the European Commission has published a Green Book on the modernisation of the European Public Procurement Market and launched a consultation on the subject.

In a statement, the Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: “We need to clarify public procurement rules to make life easier for both public authorities and companies bidding for contracts in Europe. Access of smaller companies to procurement markets, reducing red tape, or promoting European cross-border procurement will be under the spotlight during the consultation. My ambition is also to make sure that public procurement can help job creation, innovation, and protection of the environment.”

The Green Paper identifies a number of key areas for possible reform and asks for stakeholders’ views on options for legislative changes. Some of the issues covered are the following:

  • Do the current procedures need to be simplified, in particular for small local and regional authorities? How can this usefully be done without jeopardizing essential guarantees for transparency and non-discrimination amongst bidders?
  • How can we reduce red tape for economic operators, notably SMEs? How can bidding across intra-European borders be facilitated?
  • Under which conditions should contracts between public authorities be exempted from the application of EU public procurement rules?
  • Should the EU public procurement rules be modified to allow other policy objectives such as promotion of innovation or environmental or social considerations to be better taken into account? For instance, should there be EU rules establishing obligations to buy only products respecting certain environmental conditions or to set aside a certain percentage of the budget for innovative goods and services? Are customised rules needed for the procurement of social services of general economic interest, to better match the specificities of these services?
  • Do we need stricter rules or better safeguards to prevent favouritism, corruption or conflicts of interest?
  • How can efficient competition in procurement markets be guaranteed? For instance, how could the development of dominant suppliers, bid rigging or market sharing between bidders be avoided?
  • What should be done to improve the access of European undertakings to third country public procurement markets?

Responses to the Green Paper should be sent to the following address: markt-consult-pp-reform@ec.europa.eu no later than April 18th, 2011.

Link: Green Paper

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