Public procurement represents 19 percent of European GDP. SMEs are the heart of our economy and should have their fair share of public contracts.
A new study published by the European Commission has found that SMEs are not obtaining a percentage of public procurement contracts proportionate to their economic importance.
The 'Evaluation of SMEs’ access to public procurement markets in the EU' report found that despite winning an estimated 60% of public procurement contracts published in the Official Journal of the EU, SMEs are securing only 34% of the overall value of these contracts.
This is between 14 and 21 percent lower than their overall weight in the economy. Whilst medium-sized enterprises are not unduly underrepresented in this regard public procurement access for micro and small enterprises is clearly limited. Micro-enterprises secured a share of 6% of public procurement contracts, small enterprises 11% and medium-sized companies 17%.
The percentage of procurement contracts awarded to SMEs differs widely:
The analysis of successful applications demonstrates that the specific procedure and the type of procurer do not seem to hamper the chances of SMEs:
The report highlights a number of procurement techniques that could be used by public buyers in view of facilitating SMEs’ access to procurement:
The number of contract award notices (CANs) published on TED has increased steadily between 2002 and 2008, from 58,427 to 122,653. The rate of growth accelerated between 2007 and 2008, to an average 19% per annum.
Authorities from France published the largest number of contract award notices. They accounted for 27.5% of all notices (88,033 in the 2006-2008 period). Since 2005, Poland is the second largest publisher of CANs (37,688 notices in the 2006-2008 period or almost 12% the estimated total). Germany, Spain, the UK and Italy remain large contributors, providing a combined estimated share of about 34%.