Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Introduction: EU Public Procurement Directive

By way of introduction, we continue our presentation of the recitals of the EU Public Procurement Directive 2004/18/EC, which describe the main characteristics of the detailed provisions.

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Complex projects

Recital 31 introduces a specific procedure for particularly complex projects:


(31) Contracting authorities which carry out particularly complex projects may, without this being due to any fault on their part, find it objectively impossible to define the means of satisfying their needs or of assessing what the market can offer in the way of technical solutions and/or financial/legal solutions. This situation may arise in particular with the implementation of important integrated transport infrastructure projects, large computer networks or projects involving complex and structured financing the financial and legal make-up of which cannot be defined in advance. To the extent that use of open or restricted procedures does not allow the award of such contracts, a flexible procedure should be provided which preserves not only competition between economic operators but also the need for the contracting authorities to discuss all aspects of the contract with each candidate. However, this procedure must not be used in such a way as to restrict or distort competition, particularly by altering any fundamental aspects of the offers, or by imposing substantial new requirements on the successful tenderer, or by involving any tenderer other than the one selected as the most economically advantageous.

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Small and medium-sized enterprises

Subcontracting is seen as an opportunity for small and medium-sized undertakings (enterprises):

(32) In order to encourage the involvement of small and medium-sized undertakings in the public contracts procurement market, it is advisable to include provisions on subcontracting.

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Contract notice and social objectives

A number of social objectives are allowed, if they are indicated in the contract notice or the contract documents:


(33) Contract performance conditions are compatible with this Directive provided that they are not directly or indirectly discriminatory and are indicated in the contract notice or in the contract documents. They may, in particular, be intended to favour on-site vocational training, the employment of people experiencing particular difficulty in achieving integration, the fight against unemployment or the protection of the environment. For instance, mention may be made, amongst other things, of the requirements — applicable during performance of the contract — to recruit long-term job-seekers or to implement training measures for the unemployed or young persons, to comply in substance with the provisions of the basic International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, assuming that such provisions have not been implemented in national law, and to recruit more handicapped persons than are required under national legislation.

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Labour law

Local labour law applies to public contracts, if it complies with Community law. In cross-border situations, the Posted Workers Directive 96/71/EC lays down the minimum conditions:


(34) The laws, regulations and collective agreements, at both national and Community level, which are in force in the areas of employment conditions and safety at work apply during performance of a public contract, providing that such rules, and their application, comply with Community law. In cross-border situations, where workers from one Member State provide services in another Member State for the purpose of performing a public contract, Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (1) lays down the minimum conditions which must be observed by the host country in respect of such posted workers. If national law contains provisions to this effect, non-compliance with those obligations may be considered to be grave misconduct or an offence concerning the professional conduct of the economic operator concerned, liable to lead to the exclusion of that economic operator from the procedure for the award of a public contract.


(1) OJ 21.1.1997 L 18/1.

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E-procurement

Recital 35 again stresses the importance of e-procurement:

(35) In view of new developments in information and communications technology, and the simplifications these can bring in terms of publicising contracts and the efficiency and transparency of procurement processes, electronic means should be put on a par with traditional means of communication and information exchange. As far as possible, the means and technology chosen should be compatible with the technologies used in other Member States.

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Community-wide advertising and the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV)

Recital 36 of the Procurement Directive 2004/18/EC refers to Community-wide advertising of contract notices:

(36) To ensure development of effective competition in the field of public contracts, it is necessary that contract notices drawn up by the contracting authorities of Member States be advertised throughout the Community. The information contained in these notices must enable economic operators in the Community to determine whether the proposed contracts are of interest to them. For this purpose, it is appropriate to give them adequate information on the object of the contract and the conditions attached thereto. Improved visibility should therefore be ensured for public notices by means of appropriate instruments, such as standard contract notice forms and the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) provided for in Regulation (EC) No 2195/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council (2) as the reference nomenclature for public contracts. In restricted procedures, advertisement is, more particularly, intended to enable contractors of Member States to express their interest in contracts by seeking from the contracting authorities invitations to tender under the required conditions.


(2) OJ 16.12.2002 L 340/1.

The new CPV: See Commission Regulation (EC) No 213/2008 of 28 November 2007 amending Regulation (EC) No 2195/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) and Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on public procurement procedures, as regards the revision of the CPV (Text with EEA relevance)

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Electronic signatures

Additional requirements are indicated for electronic signatures concerning public procurement:


(37) Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 on a Community framework for electronic signatures (3) and Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market (‘Directive on electronic commerce’) (4) should, in the context of this Directive, apply to the transmission of information by electronic means. The public procurement procedures and the rules applicable to service contests require a level of security and confidentiality higher than that required by these Directives. Accordingly, the devices for the electronic receipt of offers, requests to participate and plans and projects should comply with specific additional requirements. To this end, use of electronic signatures, in particular advanced electronic signatures, should, as far as possible, be encouraged. Moreover, the existence of voluntary accreditation schemes could constitute a favourable framework for enhancing the level of certification service provision for these devices.


(3) OJ 19.1.2000 L 13/12.
(4) OJ 17.7.2000 L 178/1.

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Shorter times for notices

When electronic means are used, the times for notices can be shortened:


(38) The use of electronic means leads to savings in time. As a result, provision should be made for reducing the minimum periods where electronic means are used, subject, however, to the condition that they are compatible with the specific mode of transmission envisaged at Community level.

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Procurement Directive 2004/18/EC

A notice to those readers, who want to study the Procurement Directive.

Throughout, because of amendments, we refer to the consolidated version of 1 January 2008 of the Procurement Directive, officially Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts (OJ 30.4.2004 L 134/114):

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:2004L0018:20080101:EN:PDF

The Directives and Regulations mentioned in the footnotes have not necessarily been checked for amendments.



Ralf Grahn