EU is launching six strategic priorities to give public procurement a lift

Pictured Elżbieta Bieńkowska, leading the Commission's department for the internal market, industries, entrepreneurs, and SMEs
EU is launching six strategic priorities to give public procurement a lift


The EU Commission recently presented six strategic priorities to raise public procurement to a new level. A powerful tool, in the economic policies in the member countries, is the public procurement objectives. Keywords among the priorities are focus on competence, improved data collection, joint agreement and digitalization. Increased openness and protection are included as part of the priorities.

It is in the document “Making Public Procurement work in and for Europe” that the EU Commission presents six strategic priorities. The potential is to make public procurement a powerful tool in each of the member countries “toolbox” for economic politics. This will, according to the EU Commission lead to obvious benefits in terms of public procurement. To begin with, it is established that strategic criteria must be systematically implemented to maximize the potential of public procurement. Strategic procurement should have a central role for both central and local authorities. There are several challenges: Social, environmental and economic objectives, such as, for example, circular economy.



This requires highly competent procurement environments as a vision and political foundation. A low level of competency in procurement is a problem in several of the member states. The EU Commission suggest that improving the procurement competence in all stages of the procurement process is vital. This applies in particular to the use of electronic communication opportunities. In order to get the right skills in place, long-term strategies for professionalization is needed.

Improved access to the markets for public procurement is as well a strategic priority for small and medium businesses. The directives from 2016 include possibilities for better access to the market, but it needs improved communication to whom it entails. This is especially important for cross-border acquisitions.


Increased transparency

The EU Commission also advocates increased transparency, integrity, and better data collection. Electronic procurement systems needs to produce more data of higher quality for the acquisitions and to be shared with interested parties. Public registers of contracts are strongly advised, and effective reporting routines must be established for alerts so that they are not subjected to retaliation.

New digital technologies open the possibilities of streamline in simplified procurement processes. But the significant gains are not achieved until the entire procurement process is digital. It includes everything from planning the acquisition to the contract period is over and archived.


Joint agreement

The sixth and last strategic priority entails joint acquisition, meaning joint agreements. The EU Commission discovered a trend in Europe, that public businesses in Europe collaborates and makes acquisitions together. Establishing special units responsible for such joint acquisitions is considered a useful tool in the necessary work to professionalize the acquisition business. In addition, the EU Commission believes such units can be the solution to more SME-friendly procedures.

This article first appeared at Anbud365, Norway’s leading online newspaper for public procurement. Published by Lennart Hovland on October 10th 2017. The full article can be found in Norwegian here.

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