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In their response to the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis, contracting authorities within Europe have experienced many challenges.

Despite the guidance issued by the EU on using the public procurement framework in an emergency situation such as COVID-19, and the exceptional measures taken at national level that have followed, many contracts have been awarded without the application of the public procurement rules and without any form of (ex-post) transparency.

The extreme and immediate needs of the healthcare sector including scarcity of medical supplies, supply interruptions, transport disruptions, protectionist measures, lockdowns and lack of EU manufacturing capacity have exposed the vulnerabilities of the European market. As time passes, it may arguably be more difficult to rely on extreme urgency and unforeseeable circumstances, especially during the roll out phase of vaccination programmes.