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22 July 2013 | Adam Leach
The reform of EU procurement rules has moved a step closer to completion after the Committee of Permanent Representatives approved draft proposals to make the system more flexible and accessible.
The committee, which is composed of senior civil servants from member states and sets the agenda for the European Council, gave the go ahead last week to proposed reform of regulations, such as full use of e-procurement and handing contracting authorities the powers to pay sub-contractors of suppliers directly.
The reforms, which will now be put to a vote in the European Parliament and European Council, would also lift the restrictions on turnover requirements of bidding parties to three times the contract value.
A statement from the Council, said: “The package provides for a simplification and flexibilisation [sic] of the procedural regime set by the current rules, which date back to 2004. To this end, it contains measures to make procurement easier and administratively less burdensome and to create flexibility for public authorities for public authorities enabling better procurement outcomes.”
The development follows a deal struck last month within the EU that will boost member states ability to award on the basis of ‘most economically advantageous tender’ (MEAT), rather than just focusing on financial value. The provisional agreement, which was negotiated by members of the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee, will put more emphasis on societal and environmental issues, such as job creation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Marc Tarabella, progressive alliance of socialists and democrats MEP for Belgium, said: “The criterion of the most economically advantageous tender makes once again quality the central issue and puts an end to the dictatorship of the lowest price.” The agreement will see tougher provisions how to deal with bids that are deemed ‘abnormally low’.