Watchdog plan gets cool reception

7 May 2003
More legal news

08 May 2003 | David Arminas

The European Commission has been warned that a proposal for national watchdogs to oversee single-market directives could mean unwanted bureaucracy.

Later this month, the EC will publish what it calls an "action plan" to help countries move faster towards a single market and flag up protectionist actions by governments.

But Fred Harvey, consultant and chairman of the CIPS EC directives committee, said the watchdogs would need to have a practical application.

"From a procurement point of view, it could be useful if the body set up in each country is to act as an arbiter before issues over purchasing get to the courts," he said.

"Otherwise it could be an unwanted layer of bureaucracy."

David Wright, EC directives adviser at consultancy Achilles, said the EC was concerned that some countries were slow to break down barriers for the buying of some goods and services. "France is notorious for adopting short timescales for tendering, and Italy often uses 'national security' to circumvent commission directives," he said.

Later this year, the European Parliament is expected to pass laws to harmonise standards for contracting works such as construction and services.

SMmay2003

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