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Public procurement – Commission sets out Action Plan to move public purchasing in Europe online

Info zo zahraničia | www.europa.eu.int
21.01.2005 | Čítalo: 13832 | Diskusia: 0

The European Commission has published an Action Plan on electronic public procurement to assist Member States in implementing the new Procurement Directives adopted in 2004. The objective is to enable any business with a PC and an internet connection to bid for public contracts electronically anywhere in the EU, based on clear conditions and procedures and with all the necessary security.

The Directives provide for the first time a coherent EU framework for the transparent and non-discriminatory use of electronic means in public procurement, which will help make procurement more competitive and efficient. As public procurement accounts for over 16% of the EU economy (see IP/04/149), opening up procurement markets can significantly boost competitiveness and reduce government spending.

Single Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “Electronicprocurement means real benefits for buyers, suppliers and, most importantly, for the taxpayers who ultimately fund public purchases. We already have the necessary legal framework but it needs to be implemented correctly if new barriers are to be avoided. This Action Plan is an excellent roadmap to make e-procurement work in practice and to reap the full benefits of an enlarged Single Market”.

Moving public procurement online promises substantial savings on expenditure and transaction costs for buyers and suppliers. However, it is a complex operation and experience of e-procurement is limited. Inconsistent implementation, with different rules and incompatible systems in different Member States, could hinder its uptake. There is a risk of new ‘e-barriers’ in cross-border trade or in government-to-business and business-to-business procurement.

The Action Plan, prepared in close association with Member States and businesses, sets out how the Commission and Member States can best implement the e-procurement aspects of the new Directives. For this the Action Plan sets an ambitious timetable for 2005 – 2007.

As a first step, the Commission will issue an interpretative document and a list of functional requirements, to ensure e-procurement systems in all Member States comply with the same basic legal and technical rules and are compatible with each other. Member States are invited to set up comprehensive national plans for a rapid adoption of the Directives and a tailored transition to e-procurement, including measurable performance targets.

Further steps include the development of a new generation of online standard forms for the publication of notices and an improved product classification (CPV) compatible with e-procurement. The development of interoperable technical standards, such as for advanced electronic signatures, will be promoted.

To make life easier for suppliers, there will be specific measures to cut red tape, for example by agreeing on electronic certificates that every public purchaser usually requires and on standards for electronic catalogues.

The Action Plan aims to modernise the general procurement environment and encourages Member States to automate steps in all phases of the procurement cycle. It does not take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach but supports Member States in designing e-procurement solutions adapted to their needs, in line with the Directives.

View full Action Plan at:

http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/publicprocurement/e-procurement_en.htm

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