eInvoicing and eProcurement session in the EU week of regions and cities
On 10 October 2019, the European Commission organised a dedicated session on "eProcurement and eInvoicing EU policy: implementation and challenges at regional level" in the context of the 2019 Economic Week of Region and Cities.
Presentations by EU and national experts provided guidelines, good practices examples of different national strategies, helping participants realise the adotion of eInvoicing at the sub-central level.
Irena Riviere-Osipov (eInvoicing Policy officer from DG GROW) noted that public procurement is a core part of public sector activity and provided significant market opportunities for businesses. "Accounting for a trading volume of EUR 2,448 billion (approx. 16% of the 2017 EU GDP), European public procurement is a major driver for economic growth, job creation, and innovation" (from a study of the Policy Department of the European Parliament, January 2019). The digitalisation of public procurement processes, and adoption of widespread eInvoicing, play a significant role in the efforts to ensure environmental sustainability, deliver public sector fiscal savings and maximise efficiency.
eProcurement & eInvoicing EU policy: implementation and challenges at regional level
This session subsequently included the sharing of best practices of five speakers including four EU Member State representatives. The experts shared their first-hand experiences in implementating eInvoicing particularly at sub-central levels. This included strategies used, monitoring tools applied and providing examples of concrete impacts from the uptake of eInvoicing.
- Marc Christopher Schmidt (DG GROW) stated that "Today, emerging technologies are transforming the way public procurement works. Public procurement became Public e-Procurement offering new services, products and more efficient and innovative business models".
Within the three last years, the digital capabilities gained in Member States increased considerably, but there is still room for improvement in order to benefit fully of the digitisation of the different procurement phases.
- Kerstin Wiss Holmdahl (Legal adviser, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), Sweden) highlighted that "With Information and Communication Technologies and a new way of working we can save money. It gives more resources for the core public activities (i.e. schools, hospitals, elderly care etc. in municipalities)". In response to a survey aiming to evaluate the impact of eProcurement transformation at the sub-central level, 94% of the respondents consider the invoicing process as more efficient than before the take-up of the eInvoicing.
- Declan McCrormack (Principal Officer - eInvoicing Ireland Programme and eTenders Platform Project, Office of Government Procurement, Ireland) presented the Irish "strategy to enhance the communication and the collaboration between the government and local levels by minimising the technological dependencies". The Irish office of Government Procurement has set national agreements with selected vendors in order to simplify procurement of compliant solutions of local public entities.
- Ana Ramos (Coordinator - Directorate of shared finacial services, ESPAP - Entidade de Serviços Partilhados da Administração Pública, I.P, Portugal) stated that"The eInvoice is the element that allows us to create a traceability, interoperability, quality data driven integration and further possibilities throughout the eProcurement chain". At local level in Portugal, the implementation of eInvoicing strategy gathers five elements: the standardisation of processes, the adaptation of technologies, elaboration of an eInvoicing program and good practices, and organisation of a dissemination campaign.
- Justin Jager (Policy Adviser, Ministry of Interior, Netherlands) noted that "the goal is to maintain monitoring tools and a close follow up with local bodies to evaluate the Directive implementation impacts". In the Netherlands, already 95% of the sub-central government entities have implemented a technical solution, mainly using PEPPOL.
There seems to be not one ideal and unique for implementing the eInvoicing and for modernising the eProcurement value chain. However, the interoperability and exchange optimisation require uniformity among Member States and trigger these questions:
The European Commission supports the uptake of eInvoicing respecting the European standard and Directive 2014/55/EU (on eInvoicing in public procurement) with the CEF eInvoicing Building Block . CEF eInvoicing currently offers public and private sectors on-site eInvoicing Trainings and Workshops, supporting webinars; a User Community hosting online discussions, a Registry of supporting artefacts to implement European standard and a dedicated Conformance Testing Service.
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