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Modernisation of Public Procurement
As part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the proposal of the European Commission aims to reform and simplify public purchasing procedures, in order to attract more bidders, especially SMEs and non-national companies.
As for simplification, the proposal introduces self-declaration of compliance for bidders, thus significantly cutting red tape’s costs for appliances, along with an “apply or explain” division of contracts into lots, new requirement limitations and allows direct payment to subcontractors, in order to prevent bidders to suffer from delayed payments and insolvency. All of these measures are intended to foster SMEs’ access to the public procurement market: given that small and medium companies provide the highest employment and job creation rate, legislators believe that supporting them will help reduce unemployment and will finally trigger a positive reaction that could get EU out of the current crisis.
The proposal introduces as well the possibility of negotiation, even if still circumscribed to particular cases: public administrations will be able to talk terms with bidders, while the last will be allowed to modify their proposals in order to better satisfy the purchaser’s needs. This should provide more flexible procurement procedures, which could include green and social criteria, and hopefully grant cost-effective outcomes, too. Yet, it must be noticed that the introduction of any additional criteria has been limited to the specific contract, and cannot be applied to the company per se.