The Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) handed down a ruling on a reference from a German court, holding that a contract between two local authorities constituted a public contract for the purposes of Article 1(2) (d) of the Directive 2004/18 (“Directive”). In the case at hand, one public entity, a federation of municipalities, assigned to another public entity, a member city of the federation, the cleaning of certain office, administrative and school buildings in return for financial compensation intended to cover the costs incurred in the performance of the task. Further, the assignee was authorized to use the services of third parties for the accomplishment of the assigned task. No public procurement procedure was followed. The German court referred the case to the ECJ, asking whether the contract falls within the Directive. The ECJ held that in order to be a public contract, the contract must be for pecuniary interest concluded in writing between an economic operator and a contracting authority, and have as its object the provision of services referred to in Annex II A of the Directive. The ECJ held that the contract in question met these criteria. Furthermore, the ECJ considered that the contract could not be considered to be an in-house contract or to establish cooperation between public entities, which could be excluded from the scope of application of the public procurement rules. On these grounds the ECJ concluded that the contract thus constituted a public service contract within the meaning of Article 1(2)(d) of Directive 2004/18. Source: Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union Case C-386/11 - Piepenbrock Dienstleistungen GmbH & Co. KG v Kreis Düren 13/6/2013