MEPs support public procurement passport to ease tendering journey for SMEs

28 September 2011

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28 September 2011 | Angeline Albert

A passport that could make tendering for public procurement contracts easier and less costly for small firms, has won the support of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

An internal market committee of MEPs approved a non-legislative resolution that calls on the European Commission to promote an EU-wide passport that proves the holder complies with EU rules on public procurement.

The public procurement passport would make tendering less complicated for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to the Internal Market and ConsumerProtection committee, which voted on the resolution on Monday evening. It was in response to the commission’s green paper to revise EU public procurement rules, published in January. Heide Rühle, MEP for Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, recommended the passport, which was unanimously backed in committee.

Rühle said: “The commission will have to recognise the strong view among MEPs that the rules should be simplified, to make them more flexible and give SMEs better access.”

Other measures to remove administrative barriers for SMEs could include use of self-declarations of compliance. MEPs also said dividing up public contracts into lots would give small businesses a better chance of bidding success. SMEs currently win 31-38 per cent of public procurement contracts by value.

The resolution also said: “The lowest price criterion should no longer be the determining factor in awarding contracts. It should be replaced by that of the most economically advantageous tender in terms of economic, social and environmental benefits, taking into account the entire lifecycle costs of the relevant goods, services or works.”

This broader criteria and admission of alternative bids would help bidders propose innovative solutions, which could also strengthen the position of SMEs said Rühle. Her report is scheduled for a plenary vote by all MEPs at the October Strasbourg session.

A wider proposal to revise EU public procurement rules – which will include responses by all MEPs to the initial green paper – will be tabled later this autumn.

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