The European Commission has published a Green Paper on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy. Public procurement law was developed to ensure the most efficient use of public funds and to keep the EU procurement markets open. In light of the current economic climate the Commission considers there is a need to modernise the existing procurement rules.

The aims of the modernisation are:

  • to increase the efficiency of public spending by ensuring the best possible procurement outcomes and the widest possible competition for contracts;
  • to allow procurers to make better use of public procurement in support of common societal goals, including protection of the environment, energy efficiency; and
  • to tackle issues that are not sufficiently addressed in the current rules, such as preventing corruption and favouritism.

The Green Paper does not contain any policy decisions by the Commission, but asks many questions on a wide range of issues including, whether the Part A/B services distinction should be narrowed or eliminated, whether the thresholds should be increased, whether there should be more negotiation in procurement processes, whether the exclusive rights exemption should be narrowed, and whether some utility sectors should still have their own separate regime. The consultation will close on 18 April 2011.

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