Focus on Innovation to EU Procurement Rules

Written by | Thursday, January 16th, 2014

The European Parliament updated EU rules on public procurement yesterday, including fresh provisions allowing for social, environmental issues, as well as boosting innovation when it comes to public-private partnerships. The parliament voted in favour of the directives on awarding concessions and public procurement which had been discussed before with EU member states in the Council of Ministers. The policy change is not intended to privatize public services.
The main objective of the changes is to enable smaller firms to apply for public tenders and motivate public authorities to provide enhanced services to taxpayers. It is hoped that the updates will promote value for money, greater transparency will reduce red tape and motivate greater accountability of public bodies in provision of goods and services. A British MEP commented that public procurement should no longer be a matter of accepting the lowest price but better solutions should be pushed forward as smart customers will work with smart suppliers.
Official figures say that about 18 percent of the EU’s GDP is spent by public authorities on goods, services, and works. Until now, public-private partnerships were governed by the lowest price but now an emphasis should be put on the overall quality and sustainability of the projects. The new agenda pioneers concession contracts providing first common EU standards. Moreover, it ensures the best value for money by incorporating criteria that stress environmental issues, social considerations, and innovation. This will be done mostly by introducing the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) criterion.
Public bodies will also likely launch tenders without pre-empting solution thus allowing tenderers to innovate. The amendments are also hoped to reduce red tape burdens and motivate smaller and medium-size businesses to bid in tenders by dividing contracts into lots. Unusually low bids will be under strict supervision in order to avoid dumping, and the monitoring body will also closely observe whether the rights or workers are respected in all member states.

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