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No 29 (June 2002/Juin 2002/Juni 2002)
On 21 May, the Council reached political agreement on a proposal to simplify and modernise the existing Directives on public procurement of works, supplies and services.
The proposal aims to open up further the benefits of the Internal Market to guarantee improved public services, boost the competitiveness of European companies, ensure effective allocation of public resources and stimulate economic growth and job creation. The amendments will enable purchasers and suppliers to computerise all public procurement procedures and so get maximum benefit from electronic commerce. The legislative package also includes measures aiming for greater clarity in the criteria determining the award of the contract and the selection of tenderers. As regards taking into account social and environmental objectives in the attribution of procurement contracts, the preamble to the text clarifies that such objectives can be included in the technical specifications to be met by bidders for a contract, but in this case contracts must be awarded according to the criteria of "the most economically advantageous offer".
"These rules require procurement to be conducted on a transparent and competitive basis so that taxpayers enjoy value for money", commented Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein after the Council. "The rules also act as a safeguard against corruption. We should not forget that procurement contracts account for around 14 per cent of the European Union's GDP."