12 December 2002 | Robin Parker
Internationally minded purchasing experts from Leeds have stepped in to help their Polish colleagues deal with European Union red tape.
Leeds City Council is running training sessions in Poland after its 53-member central procurement unit played host to Polish government officials.
The European Commission asked Leeds this year to bring Poland up to speed with public procurement rules as it prepares for potential EU membership.
The commission had been impressed by a partnership the council formed with the Western Australian government last year, when a team from Perth was seconded to Leeds to help deliver an online tendering system.
Poland is one of 13 countries hoping to join the 15-strong EU. Adoption of the common rules, standards and policies of EU law is part of the entry conditions.
The first wave of new members is expected to join by the June 2004 European elections.
Dean Backhouse, principal legal officer at Leeds, conducted the seminars. He said the Polish government was trying to bring its procurement closer into line with EU legislation.
“We’re helping it to find ways of ending practices such as putting tariffs on imports,” he said.