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New EU-rules on public procurement

20 January 2014 [ English ] français ]

On January 15th, the European Parliament adopted new rules on public procurement. The new legislation, based on a European Commission proposal published two years ago, and agreed with Council in June 2013, is supposed to ensure better quality and value for money when public authorities buy or lease works, goods or services. The legislation also sets for the first time common EU standards on concession contracts.

CECOP welcomes the adopted EU-rules, especially the new criterion of the “most economically advantageous tender” (MEAT) which will allow public authorities to put more emphasis in the award procedure on quality, social aspects, environmental considerations or innovation. More precisely CECOP hails the introduction of production process in the quality criteria.

However, in the definition of MEAT, the price remains the main factor.
We also welcome the fact that new rules will improve the access of SMEs in public procurements by division of contracts into lots and the reduction of administrative burden by 80%. Moreover annual turnover requirements for economic operators my not exceed two times the estimated contract value. This will prevent public contractors from imposing exaggerated turnover requirements on SMEs. The new legislation includes also rules on subcontracting and tougher provisions on “abnormally low bids”.

When it comes to concessions contracts, Member States remain free to decide how they want public works or services to be performed (in-house or outsourced) to private enterprises.

CECOP is particularly satisfied of the adoption of the article on reserves contracts (Article 17) giving the possibility to public authorities to restrict tenders to enterprises that pursue the aim of the social and professional integration of disabled and disadvantaged persons. CECOP welcomes the fact that this article includes disabled AND disadvantaged workers and establishes a new threshold of 30% for the total amount of disabled and disadvantaged workers in enterprises taking part in public procurements. This goes in line with the message CECOP has been addressing to the European Institutions during the last years.

We also welcome the recognition of the specific nature for social, health and other services provided directly to the person and the clarification and simplification of rules for their provision. Nevertheless, we regret that the reserve contracts for social services may not be awarded twice in a row to non-profit organisations.

The directives will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU. After that date Member States will have 24 months to implement it into national law.