Public procurement: Support construction SMEs during Covid-19 by better implementing the Directive

The EU economy was hit hard by the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis and is only slowly recovering from, in many places, complete standstill. Even though various economic sectors feel long-term implications, the pressure on the construction sector is particularly intense: the EU production in April dropped to the lowest level recorded since 1995, and still remained roughly 3.9% lower this July than in July 2019.

Public procurement accounts for more than EUR 1.9 trillion yearly, which is why it can be a major driver to support the needed demand for construction enterprises in the upcoming months and years. However, especially for construction SMEs, accessibility to public procurement remains a big hurdle, decreasing their chances for recovery and further tightening the difficult situation many of them already encounter.
Hence, EBC calls in its position paper on “The implementation of Public Procurement in the European Union” to further improve implementation guidelines for public authorities and to remove remaining barriers for construction SMEs. Particular attention is put upon the following topics:

  • Division of public contracts into lots;
  • Tender award criteria;
  • Late payment by Public Authorities;
  • Access to and quality of relevant tender information;
  • Proportionality of technical pre-requisites;
  • Administrative burdens related to tender documents.

“Public procurement is an important source of income for construction SMEs and the Public Procurement Directive has played a crucial role in supporting SMEs’ access to public tenders. However, we need further implementation guidelines for public authorities, because many still do not use all possibilities and tools available to make tenders as SME-friendly as possible”, stresses Eugenio Quintieri, EBC Secretary-General.
EBC is committed to working in close cooperation with the European institutions and Member States to further improve the access of construction SMEs to public procurement in order to ensure that their economic relevance is appropriately reflected in public tenders.

To read EBC position paper on The implementation of Public Procurement in the EUclick here