On 26 June 2013 the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the revision of the EU Public Procurement Directives (the ‘classic’ and the ‘utilities’ directives). The agreement is still provisional, however the final agreement should be simply a formality and require only minor changes to current drafts. The legislators strove to improve flexibility in the procurement process for both the public and private sector while at the same time giving greater importance to quality and innovation.
Core changes to the new directives include the principle of the ‘most economically advantageous tender’ (MEAT) becoming the standard award criterion, replacing the criteria of lowest price (this includes an emphasis on quality, environmental considerations, social aspects or innovative characteristics, transparency in sub-contraction and stronger rules against abnormally low bids); a new tool to issue a call for tenders without specifying a product, but rather a problem that needs to be solved, giving room for discussion and cooperation between the public and private sector; and tender documents eligible for EU-wide bidding will be made available in all EU languages. Tenders from national databases will also have to be made available to eligible bidders.
The agreement package must be approved by the Council and then by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee – both of which are planned for this month (July 2013). The final vote will take place in autumn. The directives will then have to be adopted into national law by EU Member States. Only when this national legislation comes into force will the new rules be applied in practice. To read the text proposed by the European Commission and the amendments proposed by the European Parliament, download Marc Tarrabella’s (Rappoteur) first reading report.
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