The Public Procurement Directive was adopted in February 2014 and member states had to implement it by April 2016, except with regard to e-procurement, where the deadline is September 2018.
This Directive introduced the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), which is an updated self-declaration replacing the certificates economic operators have to obtain to demonstrate they fulfil certain conditions to participate in public tenders.
The Directive establishes that contracting authorities have to accept the ESPD submitted by participants in public tenders. This document should help apply the “only once” principle, according to which contracting authorities cannot request a bidder the same document which has already been submitted during the last four years and is still valid.
Although this tool could be very useful in cutting red tape and paperwork for the bidders, its implementation in certain member states is raising doubts and concerns about its possible impact on companies. The countries where our members warned they encountered problems with the implementation of the ESPD are Italy, France and Denmark.
The main issues are that the ESPD overlaps – instead of substituting – practices that are already in place, adding to bureaucracy. Moreover, many SMEs don’t understand it and don’t know how to use it. The key problem is that the main trade associations representing SMEs at European and national level have not been contacted by policy-makers to contribute with their proposals on the concrete design of this document and the way it will be used.
EBC hopes that the report on the implementation of the directive the European Commission has to draft in 2017 will be the timeframe by which this issue will be solved.