Measures taken against directive breaches

24 April 2008

The european commission has started proceedings against eight countries that are failing to meet the criteria of the Public Procurement Directive, which came into force on 31 January 2006. According to the Commission, all of these countries have either let contracts or have national measures that contravene the Public Procurement Directive.

Written warnings about infringements of the new Directive have been issued to the governments of Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.

One of contracts let in Germany that the Commission is investigating involves construction of four new trade fair halls in Cologne. The building is being funded by a private investment company, which will rent it to the city for 30 years and be sub-let to trade fair company Koelnmesse. The German government has said that this is a rental contract but Commission believes that this is a public works contract and the contract should have been let under EU-wide contract award procedures.

Other construction contracts being investigated by the Commission include the tender for the D3 motorway in Slovak Republic, which called for bidders with ‘previous experience with works of a similar nature’. The Public Procurement Directive does not allow for the use of selection criteria at the award stage of tenders, only the quality of the offer should be considered at this point.

The eight countries have two months to respond to the issues but if the Commission remain dissatisfied, it will take action against the countries through the European Court of Justice.

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