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New public Procurement Package: A missed Opportunity

BRUSSELS/BELGIUM, January 23, 2014 - An adoption by the European Parliament of the three directives of the public procurement package (classical, utilities and concessions) opens the way for entry into force of the new rules before the European elections, with a two-year transposition period.

“The EU institutions did not seize the opportunity to solve one of the most severe shortcomings of the existing public procurement directives”, regrets Ulrich Paetzold, FIEC Director General. “I mean by that the identification and treatment of abnormally low tenders, which is a real curse in the construction sector.”

“In any case, these new rules will not change the world,” believes Paetzold, “apart from maybe the brand new concessions directive, which now needs to prove it’s worth.”
“Above all, we regret that the EU legislators seem to underestimate the negative consequences of abnormally low tenders on quality and sustainability to the detriment of both the public authorities and serious, law-abiding private companies,” stresses Paetzold. “Cheap can prove to be very expensive in the end!” he adds.

For the rest, FIEC particularly welcomes all measures aimed at reducing the administrative burden of the procedure, which would help SMEs in particular. “We call on our national Member Federations to be extremely vigilant during the transposition process with regard to changes in social aspects, sub-contracting and specific details in the procedure such as time periods for submitting an offer, as they might prove to be counterproductive,” explains Paetzold.

“In particular the extension of the scope of 'in-house' and public-public cooperation might lead to unfair competition and reduced markets for private enterprise, if abused.”
Finally, FIEC encourages contracting authorities in the Member States to make the best use of the “best price-quality ratio” award criterion for the sake of quality and sustainability of construction works.

“Price as the only award criterion should have been forbidden for complex procurement, such as construction,” concludes Paetzold.