FIEC criticises new EU public procurement rules

By Helen Wright10 September 2013

Thomas Schleicher is  president of FIEC for the period from 2012 to 2014.

Thomas Schleicher is president of FIEC for the period from 2012 to 2014.

New EU public procurement directives are “lengthy and complicated” and do not solve some of the key challenges that contractors face in the real world, according to the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC).

FIEC said important targets had been missed during the revision of the directives. It aid the issue of abnormally low tenders (ALTs) had not been addressed adequately, with no provision for the mandatory rejection of ALTs.

In addition, it highlighted the “extremely complicated” wording of the award criteria in the directives. It also said the fact that the time limits allowing small- and medium-sized enterprises to respond to tenders had been shortened considerably was “counter-productive”, considering the drawing up of good quality tenders takes time.

Furthermore, FIEC said the directives provided unfair advantages to public companies, to the detriment of private contractors. It said the scope of public-public co-operation had been broadened considerably, so that important market shares could be awarded without transparent, competitive procedures.

"Will not achieve objectives"

FIEC president Thomas Schleicher said, “I’m afraid that the revised directives will not really achieve the objectives announced by the European Commission when launching this modernisation process.

“From the very beginning of this legislative process, FIEC stressed that there was not sufficient practical experience for a revision, due to the late implementation of the current directives into national law. And now, despite some welcome changes, we end up with lengthy and complicated procedures, which do not solve some key problems that contractors have to face in the real world.”

Mr Schleicher added, “It is regrettable that the discussions on such complex and controversial issues, which concern the foundations of the Internal Market have been rushed through these opaque informal trilogue negotiations. Quality is more important than speed.”

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