MEPs vote to simplify public procurement rules

26 October 2011

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26 October 2011 | Angeline Albert

MEPs have voted for simplified and flexible public procurement rules to be adopted across Europe.

The European Parliament has adopted a report on modernising public procurement, which sets out proposals for revising EU rules on contracts.

Green MEP Heide Rühle, who drafted the report, wants public procurement rules to be revised to ensure greater legal certainty because many EU member states have faced legal disputes over tendering processes, which has led to increased costs.

MEPs supported Rühle’s report, which advocates clear and flexible rules to make procurement procedures simpler, cheaper, more open to SMEs and more conducive to investment. The report asks for more space for negotiation and communication, combined with measures to assure transparency and to prevent abuse and discrimination. It also urges that market consultation be allowed as a first step.

In addition, it called for clarification of the scope of the directives and indicates that there must be a direct benefit for the contracting authority in order for a procedure to qualify as public procurement. It said lowest price should no longer be the determining factor for the award of contracts and should be replaced by the most economically advantageous tender, in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits – taking into account entire lifecycle costs of goods and services.

After yesterday’s vote, Rühle said: “This report calls for more coherent public procurement rules, which would help resolve some of the current legal problems with tendering, which means that selected tenders are often the cheapest without being the most economically logical. To this end, lifecycle costs should also be taken into account. Simpler and more flexible tendering procedures would ensure that small- and medium-sized businesses can also compete.”

The MEPs’ resolution outlines Parliament’s position ahead of the major legislative proposal for a revision of EU public procurement rules, which is to be presented by the Commission in December.

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