On 22 March 2020, with the Bulgarian parliament's adoption of the law ratifying the Framework Agreement on Joint Procurement Agreement to Procure Medical Countermeasures, Bulgaria is now part of an EU network that allows for the joint procurement of vaccines, medicines and treatments.
Conceived by the European Council in 2010 as a protective measure in the event of a future pandemic, the Framework Agreement was finalised on 14 June 2019 in Luxembourg by the European Commission and several member states.
Bulgaria can now use the Framework Agreement to participate in new procurement procedures for the acquisition of medical countermeasures in the current battle against COVID-19.
Specifically, the Framework Agreement is a network that enables signatory member states and the European Commission to organise future public procurements for specific 'medical countermeasures', which under the agreement are defined as "any medicines, medical devices, other goods or services that are aimed at combating serious cross-border threats to health".
The Framework Agreement determines all practical arrangements for joint procurement of medicines or treatments, including:
management of the framework contracts;
conducting any legal proceedings resulting from the joint procurement procedure or the framework contracts, or from a failure to comply with the agreement; and
the amicable settlement of any disagreements between the contracting parties.
Bulgaria can use this agreement to seek medical countermeasures for any health crisis. The Framework Agreement, however, does not affect the right of member states to conduct, separately and independently, their own public procurements with similar or identical subject matter or involving economic operators who are also participating in procurements with parties to the Framework Agreement or involving signatories with the Framework Agreement.
As of 26 March 2020, the Framework Agreement was signed by 26 countries; any EU member state can join.
For further information on the Framework Agreement and public procurement under Bulgarian law, contact local CMS expert Antonia Kehayova or your regular CMS advisor.