Article 17 (Article 19 of the 2004 Directive) of the proposal for a Directive on Public Procurement gives 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 supports the European Commission proposal since this one includes disabled AND disadvantaged workers (the previous one was restricted only to disabled workers) and establishes a new threshold of 30% (previously it was 50%) for the total amount of disabled and disadvantaged workers in enterprises taking part in public procurements. In fact, according to us this new proposal will guarantee a more effective and more sustainable integration of those vulnerable groups and at the same time, increase the economic performance of those enterprises, thereby contributing to the long-term dimension of reintegration.

The proposal for a Directive on Public Procurement is currently being discussed in the European Parliament and in the Council. We are extremely concerned about an amendment to the Article 17 proposed by the Council to enlarge the scope of reserved contracts to organisations whose main aim is the integration of former employees of public authorities into the private sector.

Together with Social Platform and other European organisations representing enterprises providing professional integration to disabled and disadvantaged persons, organisations representing disabled and disadvantaged persons and organisations representing service providers for disabled and disadvantaged persons, CECOP has sent a letter to the European Institutions in order to protest against this amendment and to protect the spirit of the Article 17, which is the social and professional integration of persons with disabilities and disadvantaged persons.

Moreover, the amendment suggested by the Council implicitly encourages the privatization of public services and public entities, which is in contradiction with recital (3a) adopted by the Council and recital (3b) adopted by the IMCO Committee: the Public Procurement Directive does not deal with liberalization of services of general economic interest and with privatization of public entities providing services.