Seven challenges for joint acquisition across national borders

The Danish state has been involved in development of the studies about joint cross-border procurement.
Seven challenges for joint acquisition across national borders

 

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An international EU study points to seven challenges for public buyers and contractors that are planning to cross national borders to coordinate its need for a joint acquisition. Four cases that have been analyzed shows that language is not the biggest challenge. These kinds of projects are a journey of exploration in cooperative opportunities open for various legal levels.

The study presented earlier this year is called “Support of the internal market policy for growth: Feasibility study concerning the actual implementation of a joint cross-border procurement procedure by public buyers from the different Member States”. The study has been conducted by the Austrian Bundesbeschaffung GmbH and the Danish Government and Municipalities procurement Service A/S in a cooperation, on behalf of the EU Commission.

The purpose was to assess whether a joint cross-border acquisition was possible. It is a situation where two or more public buyers conduct an acquisition together. The characteristic is that this happens through a joint announcement on behalf of all the parties involved. This means that partners from different countries have gathered their requests in the joint procurement and have to act commonly by the award of a contract.

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Danish / Austrian cooperation

The third acquisition was a cooperation between the Danish State, the Municipalities procurement Service A/S in a cooperation Austrian Bundesbeschaffung GmbH. The cooperation was to buy Citrix software and applications, where Austria was the “lead procurer”.  Building and construction procurement conducted by an international owned buyer was studied. This was the Brenner tunnel between Austria and Italy.

The study concluded that there was seven main challenges in a joint cross-border acquisition:  Legal complexity related to national and contractual law, as well as: product-specific legislations, rigid markets and pricing policy and innovative products which can be difficult to standardize, language, communication with end users, and electronic procurement tools designed to comply with national claims.

 

Coordination was most time consuming

Even though language was expected to be the biggest challenge, it turned out to be manageable. In the four projects, coordination consumed the most time. The development of joint cross-border procurement has started and a number of questions still require answers.

Seen from a legal point of view, such acquisitions are not necessarily a risky effort. It opens up for the opportunities to explore the different ways the different levels of legal requirements involves collaboration, and what opportunities they provide to optimally reach the goal of further raising the efficiency of public procurement.


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This article first appeared at Anbud365, Norway’s leading online newspaper for public procurement. Published by Lennart Hovland on 2nd of October 2017. The full article can be found in Norwegian here.

 

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