Monday 10 November 2008

EU Public Procurement Directive introduction

The EU Public Procurement Directive 2004/18/EC recitals present the main features of the Directive. We continue our introductory overview.


RTD exemption

Research and technological development is exempt from the Procurement Directive’s scope of application, on certain conditions, as stated in the twenty third recital:

(23) Pursuant to Article 163 of the Treaty, the encouragement of research and technological development is a means of strengthening the scientific and technological basis of Community industry, and the opening-up of public service contracts contributes to this end. This Directive should not cover the cofinancing of research and development programmes: research and development contracts other than those where the benefits accrue exclusively to the contracting authority for its use in the conduct of its own affairs, on condition that the service provided is wholly remunerated by the contracting authority, are not therefore covered by this Directive.


Immovable property exemption

Another area seen as unsuited to normal procurement rules is the acquisition and rental of immovable property:

(24) In the context of services, contracts for the acquisition or rental of immovable property or rights to such property have particular characteristics which make the application of public procurement rules inappropriate.


Cultural exception

Public service contracts for original broadcasting programmes are an exception to the rule on normal procurement rules:

(25) The awarding of public contracts for certain audiovisual services in the field of broadcasting should allow aspects of cultural or social significance to be taken into account which render application of procurement rules inappropriate. For these reasons, an exception must therefore be made for public service contracts for the purchase, development, production or co-production of off- the-shelf programmes and other preparatory services, such as those relating to scripts or artistic performances necessary for the production of the programme and contracts concerning broadcasting times. However, this exclusion should not apply to the supply of technical equipment necessary for the production, coproduction and broadcasting of such programmes. A broadcast should be defined as transmission and distribution using any form of electronic network.


Arbitration an conciliation exception

Arbitration and conciliation services fall outside the scope of procurement rules:

(26) Arbitration and conciliation services are usually provided by bodies or individuals designated or selected in a manner which cannot be governed by procurement rules.


Securities and financial instruments excluded

Contacts relating to securities and other financial instruments are excluded:

(27) In accordance with the Agreement, the financial services covered by this Directive do not include instruments of monetary policy, exchange rates, public debt, reserve management or other policies involving transactions in securities or other financial instruments, in particular transactions by the contracting authorities to raise money or capital. Accordingly, contracts relating to the issue, purchase, sale or transfer of securities or other financial instruments are not covered. Central bank services are also excluded.


Sheltering sheltered work

Sheltered workshops and sheltered employment programmes can be sheltered from the market rigours brought by competitive tendering:

(28) Employment and occupation are key elements in guaranteeing equal opportunities for all and contribute to integration in society. In this context, sheltered workshops and sheltered employment programmes contribute efficiently towards the integration or reintegration of people with disabilities in the labour market. However, such workshops might not be able to obtain contracts under normal conditions of competition. Consequently, it is appropriate to provide that Member States may reserve the right to participate in award procedures for public contracts to such workshops or reserve performance of contracts to the context of sheltered employment programmes.


Functional criteria

Functional performance and criteria are stressed in order to open up competition:

(29) The technical specifications drawn up by public purchasers need to allow public procurement to be opened up to competition. To this end, it must be possible to submit tenders which reflect the diversity of technical solutions. Accordingly, it must be possible to draw up the technical specifications in terms of functional performance and requirements, and, where reference is made to the European standard or, in the absence thereof, to the national standard, tenders based on equivalent arrangements must be considered by contracting authorities. To demonstrate equivalence, tenderers should be permitted to use any form of evidence. Contracting authorities must be able to provide a reason for any decision that equivalence does not exist in a given case. Contracting authorities that wish to define environmental requirements for the technical specifications of a given contract may lay down the environmental characteristics, such as a given production method, and/or specific environmental effects of product groups or services. They can use, but are not obliged to use appropriate specifications that are defined in eco-labels, such as the European Eco-label, (multi-)national eco-labels or any other eco-label providing the requirements for the label are drawn up and adopted on the basis of scientific information using a procedure in which stakeholders, such as government bodies, consumers, manufacturers, distributors and environmental organisations can participate, and providing the label is accessible and available to all interested parties. Contracting authorities should, whenever possible, lay down technical specifications so as to take into account accessibility criteria for people with disabilities or design for all users. The technical specifications should be clearly indicated, so that all tenderers know what the requirements established by the contracting authority cover.


Additional information

Recital 30 concerns the availability of additional contract information:

(30) Additional information concerning contracts must, as is customary in Member States, be given in the contract documents for each contract or else in an equivalent document.


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):

Ralf Grahn

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