Legal Alerts / 28 Mar 2014

Legal Alert – Procurement Directives Published Today

The new Public Sector Procurement Directive and Utilities Procurement Directive were published today in the Official Journal of the European Union. The directives will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The member states have 24 months, i.e. until mid-April 2016, to implement the new provisions into national law.

The aim of the proposed Directive is simplification and flexibilisation of the procedural regime set by the current public procurement Directives. However, the amount of Articles in the new Directives has multiplied and it remains to be seen whether the goal can be achieved. Moreover, the reform aims at making better use of public procurement in support of environmental and social goals and to create more efficient Single Market.

The European Commission published its proposals for the new Directives in December 2011. The European Parliament approved the new rules on public procurement and concession contracts on 15 January 2014.

Key changes:

  • Adoption of the new concession contracts directive. Concessions have been regulated nationally in Finland also during current legislation.
  • Member States obligation to designate a single national authority in charge of monitoring, implementation and control of public procurement.
  • Directives’ definition of stakeholders in public procurement.
  • Abolition of traditional distinction between so-called prioritary and non-prioritary services (‘A’ and ‘B’ services).
  • Member States’ possibility to deny comparison based only on price and the aim to emphasize to award a contract to the most economically advantageous tender.
  • Wider use of negotiation in procurement. On the other hand negotiating procurement is provided with more specific procedural conditions.
  • Better access to the market for SMEs. Contracting authorities will be invited to divide public contracts into lots to make them more accessible for SMEs.
  • In-house procurement. The directive tackles the problem of legal uncertainty as to how far contracts concluded between entities within the public sector should be covered by directives.
  • Easier access for firms. The commission has been obliged to establish a standardized form of “European Single Procurement Document” in all EU-languages.
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