Public procurement: EU public procurement closed to competition

United Kingdom
EU public procurement closed to competition

Two recent studies conclude that liberalisation of the EU public procurement market has had little effect. Big public purchasers such as government ministries and local authorities still favour domestic suppliers over EU competitors.

The public procurement Directives adopted between 1988 and 1993 were intended to encourage such purchasers to shop around among suppliers from all the Member States when putting large contracts out to tender. The public procurement market accounts for 11% of the EU's GDP. By 1996, only 2% of office furniture suppliers and high-tech product suppliers had won additional business in other EU States.

There are suggestions of reforms which would allow the Commission to intervene where it thinks laws are not being obeyed. The studies conclude that current legal remedies appear inadequate.