On 26 February 2014 the European Union adopted the Public Procurement Directive (2014/24/EU), which replaces the 2004 directive on public works, supply and service contracts. The Member States had until 17 April 2016 to enact the new rules in their national law (except with regard to e-procurement, where the deadline is September 2018).
The proposal for a public procurement directive has certain key objectives:
• To facilitate SME access to the procurement market
• To simplify the procurement procedures and reducing the costs
• To improve the strategic use of public procurement in response to new challenges
• To encourage transparency
The public procurement rules apply to public contracts above certain thresholds:
• EUR 5,186,000 for works contracts, works concessions contracts, subsidised works contracts
• EUR 134,000 for supplies contracts awarded by contracting authorities not operating in the field of defence
Public procurement is estimated at more than 14% of the Union’s GDP. Therefore, public procurement contracts are a huge segment of the available work in the construction sector. However, various elements were and still are restraining SMEs’ access to public procurement, especially when it comes to information, transparency and access criteria. That is why SME’s access to public procurement has been consistently among EBC top priorities.
After the adoption of the public procurement directive, the main concern is to have a swift and rightful implementation process at national level that could ensure a stable legal framework for the coming years and avoid early revision processes.
What SMEs need are proportionate and relevant requirements, reasonable administrative management and appropriate size of the contracts!