OECD Forum on public procurement for SMEs: a better implementation of the EU Directive is needed

Speaking on behalf of SMEunited and EBC, our Secretary General Eugenio Quintieri intervened at the OECD Forum on Public Procurement for SMEs taking place last October. At this occasion, he reaffirmed that a proper implementation of EU directive 2014/24/EU should be the focal point.

EBC welcomed the revision of the EU Directive on Public Procurement in 2014, which had the aim to improve SMEs’ participation in public tenders. In fact, access to public procurement is generally more difficult for micro, small and medium companies than for large firms. Barriers include a lack of information on procurement opportunities, restricted access to certain contracts, disproportionately high technical and financial requirements, short time periods to submit tenders, submission costs, insurance and financial guarantees requirements, administrative burdens and the complex search of bidding partners for big contracts with lots.

In addition to this, EBC national members continue to report cases of local contracting authorities publishing tenders that make SMEs’ participation very difficult. Eugenio Quintieri stated: “Publishing huge one-size-fits-all tenders valid for decades is clearly against the spirit of the Public Procurement Directive. European institutions and national governments need to better monitor how the Directive is implemented from local contracting authorities to ensure a fair participation of SMEs”.

Member States should more often directly pay subcontractors and ensure that the Late Payment Directive is respected. This is an essential requirement for European SMEs which risk default due to payment delays and credits accumulated from public authorities and big contractors.