Cross border e-buying needed, says EC

20 October 2010

19 October 2010 | Angeline Albert

The European Commission is seeking views on how EU intervention can remove barriers to cross-border e-procurement among public bodies.

A consultation opened this week said “little commonality is currently visible” in existing systems and action was needed to bridge “individual island solutions”.

Current business processes, document standards, formats and communication methods are not standardised enough, it found, and are among several barriers to e-procurement’s cross-border use.

The green paper continued: “In today's market, economic operators wishing to participate in online procurement procedures in other member states will be faced with practical, technical and administrative obstacles.

“Although the availability of infrastructure has increased significantly since 2004, little concrete progress has been made towards unhindered, cross-border electronic procurement.”

The document added: “More concerted EU-level efforts to encourage alignment or standardisation in the e-procurement process was needed” with common reference points and standards in the areas of document exchange, authentication, e-invoicing, e-catalogues and product classifications.

The consultation is open to responses from procurement professionals and other interested parties until 31 January 2011.

The EC estimates that e-procurement transactions do not account for more than 5 per cent of total purchasing expenditure in individual member states. In 2009, more than 150,000 contracts were advertised EU-wide with e-procurement with an estimated value of 3 per cent of EU GDP.

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