The Commission has sent letters of formal notice to France, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden asking why some of their invitations to tender for computer equipment have specified
Intel microprocessors or microprocessors using a specific clock rate.
Reference to a specific brand would, in the Commission’s view, constitute a violation of Directive 93/36/EEC on public supply contracts, while merely specifying a clock rate – which is insufficient for assessing the performance of a computer – would be contrary to Article 28 of the EC Treaty, which prohibits any barriers to intra-Community trade.
Under European law on public procurement, a brand may be specified only if it is otherwise impossible to describe the product sufficiently precisely and intelligibly.
n France, the tenders concerned have been launched by local authorities or public bodies. In the Netherlands the tenders were issued by the Municipality of Amsterdam and by the IGEA group (a consortium of contracting authorities). In Finland, the bodies involved are the Universities of Jyväskylä and Tampere and Häme Polytechnic, and in Sweden, the Municipality of Filipstad, Chalmers University of Technology, the national police authority (Rikspolisstyrelsen) and the Uppsala regional authority.
The Member States in question will have two months to reply. If the Commission is not satisfied with the replies and finds that European law has indeed been infringed, it may formally ask these Member States to rectify the irregularities in the award of these contracts. If the Member States fail to bring these contracts into line, the Commission may bring the cases before the Court of Justice.
The Commission sent letters of formal notice on similar cases to Italy and Germany at the beginning of this year.
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