New rules have been introduced for all public procurement procedures initiated after 1 July 2013. The changes, which affect all business sectors, include:

More flexibility in national procedures

Significant simplifications have been made to the rules for procedures below the EU threshold. Any entity (not just micro, small, and medium-sized businesses) can now use the ‘3 bidders’ procedures, which are (a) negotiated procedures not requiring prior publication of a contract notice below HUF 25 million (€83,300), and (b) procedures below HUF 150 million (€ 500,000). Where negotiation is unnecessary, a simplified open procedure can be used, with a resulting increase in speed and decrease in transparency.

Payment deadlines

The maximum deadline for payment (and calculating interest) is now 30 days, but can be extended by agreement only to a maximum of 60 days. This has been introduced to protect SMEs and reduce credit chains. The change to the Civil Code is stricter than the minimum requirement of the directive (2011/7/EU) it implements. Any payment terms exceeding 60 days are explicitly made null and void.

Interest for late payment

The interest rate for late payment in any half-year is now 8 points (not 7, as before) above the central bank's base rate on the first day of that half-year (not, as previously, on the last day of the preceding half-year). Any attempt to exclude interest for late payment will be null and void unless the debtor pays a penalty for late payment instead.

Reduced grounds for exclusion

Infringement of labour laws (such as the use of unregistered labour) is no longer grounds for exclusion from public procurements.

Shorter deadlines for remedies against tender notices

The deadline for seeking to remedy a tender notice or tender document now starts from the day on which the tender documents or additional document was received (and not, as previously, 15 days after the day of receipt).

Technical qualification – longer reference period

Reference certificates relating to the supply of goods and services can, where necessary to ensure proper competition, be requested retroactively for more than 3 (but no more than 6) previous years.

Removal of mandatory condition subsequent in some hospital procurements

Certain proceedings initiated by a hospital to procure medical devices no longer have to use the condition subsequent (which would have required the contact to end once a centralised framework agreement had been concluded).

New definition of beneficial owner

The ‘beneficial owner’ of an entity is now deemed to be the executive officer of the owning entity, where the beneficial owner is not an individual. This change is introduced from 1 July 2013 by the Act on the Prevention of Money-Laundering and means that bidders providing information about possible grounds for exclusion under s.56(1)(kc) of the Public Procurement Act can no longer simply declare that they have no natural person beneficial owner.

Law: Act CVIII of 2011 on public procurements and related secondary legislation