26 April 2010 | Nick Martindale
The European Commission has vowed to review its procurement rules to speed up the process of awarding contracts and reduce bureaucracy, ahead of the anticipated push by member states to reduce public spending.
An article in the Commission’s Single Market News publication said the review had been sparked by a greater involvement by the private sector in public initiatives and the need for more effective co-operation between local authorities.
Pressure from local and regional administrations for greater flexibility and efficiency, the trend to use public money to encourage green technologies and the potential of e-procurement packages had also prompted the decision to re-examine its current procedures.
The review will also include an evaluation of current EU procurement legislation with the aim of allowing authorities to “undertake procurement in a timely and effective manner” and clarify how they can take into account environmental and social concerns when awarding contracts.
The report said: “In the short term, the Commission is preparing initiatives in the area of concessions and looking closely at the issue of the application of procurement legislation to cases where local or other purchasing bodies co-operate in procurement.
“It is also finalising an analysis of the take-up of e-procurement in which it will assess the existence of barriers to cross-border participation in electronic procurement marketplaces.”
But the Commission also said any adjustments should not come at the expense of “transparent and contestable procurement markets”. It said: “These principles have served us well so far and should remain the cornerstones of EU procurement policy.”
The evaluation is scheduled for completion by spring 2011.