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28 September 2011 | Angeline Albert
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
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.
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
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.