Greece and Malta warned over procurement law breaches

25 November 2011

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27 November 2011 | Paul Snell

The European Commission (EC) has warned Greece and Malta to bring their domestic procurement legislation into line with EU rules.

The EC said it was concerned about the ability of Greek contracting authorities to declare that certain infrastructure projects – such as the construction of roads and bridges – have a “special nature” without explanation and award contracts without a competitive tender process. This type of exemption is in conflict with EU procurement regulations.

It has also warned Malta that its national laws conflict with the Remedies Directive, an amendment to the regulations that gives suppliers greater power to challenge contract awards. It claims a number of elements of the directive, such as time limits and sanctions, have not been introduced correctly.

Both nations have been sent a reasoned opinion, which is the second stage of the EU’s process for dealing with infringements. The countries have two months to reply to the notice, explaining their corrective action, or will be referred to the European Court.

* The European Commission has also closed its investigation into claims the Czech government awarded a €132 million (£113.7 million) deal for four military transport aircraft without a tendering process. The Czech Republic had argued the deal was a national security purchase, which would usually allow it to circumvent procurement rules, but the EC disagreed.

But the government has now agreed that this exception will only be used in “exceptional cases” of matters of national security and understood the necessity to prove this when questioned.

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