E-procurement switch will give EU 'new source of economic growth'

Adam Leach is a freelance business journalist
24 July 2013

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Moving procurement processes online across the EU will provide market opportunities that will speed up the development of innovative products, according to European ministers.

During an informal meeting of ministers from the EU competitiveness council in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius this week, it was agreed “digitising” the procurement process would make it easier for the public sector to buy innovative solutions. Further, the ministers agreed the move would also boost private sector investment in the development of such products.

Evaldas Gustas, minister of economy for Lithuania, said in a statement: “End-to-end e-procurement integrates all phases of procurement from the electronic publication of notices to electronic payment. It can maximise the efficiency of public expenditure and become a new source of economic growth.”

Attendees at the meeting also discussed the importance of using public sector procurement to support specific types of businesses. It was agreed all member states must make a greater effort to make the procurement accessible to SMEs. Further, measures should also be put in place to support women-owned businesses.

Last year, the European Commission announced that all member states must carry out procurement electronically by 2016. The Commission predicted that €100 billion (£82 billion) can be saved annually from the €2 trillion (£1.6 trillion) spent on procurement across the EU.

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