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European Commission initiative to carry out public procurement more efficiently and in a sustainable manner

9 October 2017

The European Commission has adopted an important initiative on public procurement. Public administrations spend €2 trillion yearly in buying public services and goods. That is the equivalent of 14% of GDP of the EU. It is very important to make public procurement function properly, efficiently and innovatively. 

The initiative has four main strands:

1.    Priority areas for Member States to improve

The European Commission encourages  Member States  to develop a strategic approach to procurement policies, focusing on six priorities:

  • Make greater use of innovative, green and social criteria in awarding public contracts
  • Make sure that public buyers have all the necessary professional skills
  • Improve access for SMEs to procurement markets in the EU, to stimulate cross-border procurement, and for EU companies in third countries
  • Increase the transparency, integrity and quality of procurement data
  • Fully use digital technologies
  • Increase cooperation among public buyers across the EU

2. Voluntary ex-ante assessment of large infrastructure projects

The European Commission is setting up a voluntary mechanism to help national authorities with a proper application of public procurement laws. Large infrastructure projects are important, complex and often affected by delays and budget overruns. The European Commission will advise on smaller questions on an early stage of the process and create a so-called help-desk. This will save time, avoid potentially costly mistakes, and ultimately help stimulate investments in infrastructure projects

3.    Recommendation on professionalization of public buyers

The European Commission gives guidelines for professionalization of public buyers. Public buyers  have to comply with the rules to  strive to “the best value for your money”.

4. Consultation on stimulating innovation through public procurement

The European Commission is also launching a consultation to collect feedback on how to stimulate innovation through the procurement of goods and services. The outcomes of this consultation will play a role in the future guidelines for authorities.

SourceEuropean Commission