Labour MEP Phil Prendergast hailed the final agreement between the European Parliament and Member State governments on a two-year long review of EU public procurement law as “a landmark improvement in investment standards”.
Speaking at this afternoon’s debate in Parliament in Strasbourg prior to tomorrow’s final vote, Prendergast said: “Public authorities need rules that are both clear and flexible enough to ensure we get the best value for public investment to address our citizens’ needs.
“Contractors and subcontractors will be bound by labour, social and environmental obligations enshrined in other EU and national laws, on penalty of exclusion from future tenders.
“The specifications and selection criteria allowed in the calls for tender have been broadened and explicitly allow for the inclusion of social and other goals.
“Public authorities will no longer be forced to sign up for the cheapest tender, even when it fails to deliver minimum quality standards, out of fear of lengthy and costly legal challenges.
“Penny-wise, pound-foolish approaches often end up costing the public more in the long term, especially when the lack of quality also undermines other public policy goals. Our citizens are entitled to expect quality and value for their tax money.
“When possible, authorities will now divide contracts into smaller lots, which will open up public procurement markets up until now out of reach to many small and medium enterprises due to their scale.
“Service provision by public bodies as well as co-operation within, and between, public authorities have also been safeguarded from the requirements expected of market operators.
“Simpler, more transparent and electronic procedures will result in reduced costs and more legal certainty for both public bodies and operators, as well as easier access to calls for tender across borders.”