Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Local and regional governments as service providers

Public Procurement - 16.01.2014

New EU rules on public procurement : in line with local and regional interests
We welcome the European Parliament’s adoption of the new EU public procurement directives as it represents a step in the right direction for local government interests. 

In total, expenditure by regional and local government represents more than a third of all public sector spending. This is why, CEMR has been involved in the shape of the Commission’s proposal since 2011, and has advocated relevant amendments. We welcome that many of them are reflected in the adopted text. 

Public authorities can therefore share services without running a procurement

“In the current financial climate, sharing of back office or front-line services and tasks is increasingly common practice across contracting authorities. We therefore welcome the provision on public-public cooperation as it will make easier for local government to save public money by sharing services within the public sector“, points out Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR. This disposition will also facilitate the provision of services by one local authority for another. 

Social and environmental: new criteria for awarding a contract ... but not mandatory

Although we believe that environmental or social benefits are a major step towards sustainable development, we are not in favour that such issues should be achieved via their inclusion as award criteria in every public contract. The choice of whether, in addition, to opt for green, or social, or innovation aspects within public contracts should be decided by the local or regional authority itself. 

The ‘lowest price’ can still be an award criterion 

While we recognise the fact that certain types of contracts should consider environmental and social implications in detail, we believe that there are supplies that can be best or even only awarded according to the price. To keep the possibility to award a contract based on its price can be needed to ensure a prudent use of taxpayers’ money.

Public procurement rules still need to be simplified

CEMR will also continue to push to increase the threshold levels from which a European public procurement procedure becomes applicable. Such a revision is foreseen by the Commission and will be an important part of ensuring that SMEs and public authorities are not caught up by unnecessary red tape which is only appropriate for larger contracts.  
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