Workshop: Implementing public procurement rules

Avatar

We attended Commission for Economic Policy (ECON) workshop about public procurement rules on the 15th of May 2019. Committee of Regions (CoR) together with Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) presented key findings of a study and survey on the implementation of public procurement which can become a key building block of EU’s policies aiming to stimulate growth and remove barriers to investments.

Alessandro Valenza presented the key findings of the study on the implementation of the 2014 Directives on public procurement which his company t33 conducted on behalf of ECON. The study shows that local and regional authorities have an overall positive opinion on the Directives. They appreciate new opportunities and options and in particular support the following key points of the Directives:

  1. The strategic use of public procurement
  2. e-procurement
  3. Support to SME participation
  4. Promotion of transparency and integrity

However LRAs agree that it is difficult to involve SMEs in public procurement, especially startups and newcomers. They often lack professional and economic capacity required by the eligibility criteria. So far, only a few of the leading LRAs used innovation procurement, because the Directives call for specific know-how which is not always available.

According to the study, Directives strive to change focus from bureaucracy to a result-oriented approach. David Blanchard from the DG Internal Market pointed out that for strategic procurement we need to talk about tools rather than rules.

There is also the question whether small and local authorities will have access to simplified procedures, but time will show how the national governments implement the measures of the Directives before changing them. However, designing different approaches in order to adapt them to the different local cultures will be fundamental to reach a larger community and have an overall impact on the EU.