The European Commission is moving a step closer to making it easier for companies, in particular Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), to bid for public sector contracts anywhere in the EU; a crucial step towards achieving the Single European Market. The Commission will co-finance a pilot project, driven by eight European countries that will create the conditions to link existing national electronic public procurement (e-procurement) systems. Simplifying cross-border procurement will generate savings on administrative and transaction costs and will benefit taxpayers who ultimately pay for public purchases. The project will invest more than € 19 million over three years, € 9.8 million of which will come from the European Commission's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.