Countries wanting to join the EU are required to align their legislation to EU rules, including those on public procurement. The EU and most candidate and potential candidate countries have already granted each other market access for public contracts through Stabilisation and Association Agreements.
The European Commission is responsible for monitoring that the regulatory procurement framework in these countries is properly implemented and that the appropriate institutions and administrative capacity have been put in place. The assessment of their progress can be found in ‘Chapter 5: Public procurement’ of the national progress reports.
More detailed reports on these countries public procurement systems is carried out by SIGMA (Support for Improvement in Governance and Management), an EU and OECD joint initiative.
The EU maintains a special relationship with 16 of its closest neighbours who are currently not considered potential candidates for joining the EU. Bilateral cooperation agreements between the EU and these countries include individually tailored clauses on public procurement. These clauses may involve:
On 27 June 2014, the EU signed Association Agreements, including for Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The EU and Ukraine have provisionally applied their DCFTA since 1 January 2016. The EU and Georgia signed an Association Agreement on 27 June 2014, and it has been in force since 1 July 2016. The agreement introduces a preferential trade regime (DCFTA), which has been provisionally applied since 1 September 2014. The Association Agreement between the EU and Moldova was signed in June 2014 and has been in full effect since July 2016. Since the agreement's provisional application from September 2014, Moldova has benefitted from a DCFTA with the EU.
The public procurement chapters in all three agreements provide for the mutual opening of public procurement markets above certain thresholds and the gradual alignment of the three countries’ public procurement legislation with EU rules. This will be accompanied by an enhanced institutional framework and technical assistance from the EU.