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Public Procurement

Public procurement refers to the process by which public authorities, such as government departments or local authorities, purchase work, goods or services from companies.

 

To create a level playing field for businesses across Europe, EU law sets out minimum harmonised public procurement rules. These rules govern the way public authorities and certain public utility operators purchase goods, works and services. They are transposed into national legislation and apply to tenders whose monetary value exceeds a certain amount. For tenders of lower value, national rules apply. Nevertheless, these national rules also have to respect the general principles of EU law.

This website provides information on European public procurement policies. A general introduction to public procurement is available on Your Europe. If you are looking for business opportunities in any EU country, please visit Tenders Electronic Daily. For information on grants and procurement carried out by EU institutions, please visit the Funding and Tenders Portal.

Why public procurement is important

  • Every year, over 250 000 public authorities in the EU spend around 14% of GDP (around €2 trillion per year) on the purchase of services, works and supplies.
  • In many sectors such as energy, transport, waste management, social protection and the provision of health or education services, public authorities are the principal buyers. 
  • The public sector can use procurement to boost jobs, growth and investment, and to create an economy that is more innovative, resource and energy efficient, and socially-inclusive.
  • High quality public services depend on modern, well-managed and efficient procurement. 
  • Improving public procurement can yield big savings: even a 1% efficiency gain could save €20 billion per year.

What the European Commission does

Legal rules, implementation and enforcement

EU directives on public procurement cover tenders that are expected to be worth more than a given amount.  The core principles of these directives are transparency, equal treatment, open competition, and sound procedural management. They are designed to achieve a procurement market that is competitive, open, and well-regulated. This is essential for putting public funds to good use.

These directives also ensure EU companies have access to rapid and effective review. The EU network of review bodies helps guarantee the effective enforcement of public procurement rules at national level. 

The section on legal rules, implementation and enforcement covers current public procurement rules and the monitoring and enforcement of rules including the possibility to file a complaint.

Public procurement strategy

The European Commission’s public procurement strategy focuses on six strategic policy priorities that were set out  in the 2017 communication 'Making public procurement work in and for Europe' . It aims to improve EU public procurement practices in a collaborative manner by working with public authorities and other stakeholders.

Press release

Guidance

The e-Competence Centre provides tools and information to help public buyers get value for money and better policy outcomes for citizens.

Studies and expert groups

This section has studies and expert groups related to public procurement that have been commissioned or organised by the European Comission.

Information on European countries

The section on information on EU countries includes Single Market Scoreboard monitoring and the implementation of EU public procurement rules in EU countries, as well as links to national public procurement websites and national public procurement strategies.