The entry into force of the new public procurement law gets closer every day, as the new Public Procurement Directive 2014/24 must be implemented by 28 April 2016. That is why the European Commission has already taken the necessary measures, such as commission implementing regulation of 5 January 2016 establishing the standard form for the European Single Procurement Document (“ESPD”).

The ESPD is a self-declaration by economic operators providing preliminary evidence replacing the certificates issued by public authorities or third parties. The candidate or tenderer will use such a document as preliminary evidence that (1) it should not be excluded on the basis of the grounds for exclusion, (2) it meets the qualitative selection criteria or (3) it should be selected when the number of candidates is limited by the contracting authority. The document is thus a kind of European declaration of honour, with additional assurances that the contracting authority is obliged to accept on a transitional basis.

The ESPD will only be accepted on a transitional basis because the tenderer to whom the contracting authority intends to award the contract will have to provide up-to-date certificates and supporting documents, except in relation to certain contracts based on framework agreements. The contracting authority or contracting entity may ask any tenderer at any point during the procedure to submit all or part of the required certificates and supporting documents, but this may not lead to excessive administrative burdens.

Its objective is to reduce the administrative burden in view of enhancing opportunities for cross-border participation in public procurement, not least for SMEs. The ESPD should also contribute to further simplification for both economic operators and contracting authorities and entities by replacing various and diverging national self-declarations with one standard form established at European level. This should also help to reduce problems linked to the precise drafting of formal statements and declarations of consent as well as language issues, since the standard form will be available in the official languages. With such noble objectives, we are already looking forward to its implementation.