EC proposes public procurement changes

By Freddie Pierce
European public sector procurement continues its major overhaul. The European Commission has proposed new rules within the procurement industry in the...

European public sector procurement continues its major overhaul.

The European Commission has proposed new rules within the procurement industry in the public realm, and is hoping that new concessions to corporations will help get the measures past.

“This reform is necessary, ambitious and realistic,” said the commissioner of the dossier, Michel Barnier.

Among the most notable points in the new proposal are more simple procedures for signing public contracts, and a reduction in the amount of paperwork required to win such contracts. The intense documentation of public sector contracts was seen by many as a deterrent to small and medium-sized enterprises working with the government.

Adding to the aid smaller businesses are expected to receive under the new provisions are the increased use of eProcurement practices, which could help the tendering process as a whole. A larger number of businesses are expected to compete for contracts because of the proposed electronic and cloud-based documentation requirements, which could drive down prices for the government and save taxpayer money.

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There are a number of those not happy with the proposition, however. Some large companies see the reform as taking public sector procurement in an unnecessary direction, as adding bidders to contracts could complicate the entire tendering process.

Given Europe’s dire financial situation, however, any measure that adds simplification (and hopefully, cost reductions) is a path worth investigating.

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