Action Plan on Public Procurement
The Commission's Action Plan on Public Procurement sets out a series of initiatives aimed at helping Member States to improve the performance of both administrations and beneficiaries in applying public procurement for EU investments during the 2014-2020 programming period. The Action Plan is prepared and endorsed by all relevant Commission services (DG Regional and Urban Policy, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). It is part of the Commission's comprehensive action to ensure that tax payers' money is spent efficiently and transparently.
Efficient, effective and competitive public procurement is both a touchstone for a well-functioning internal market and an important opportunity for important efficiency and reputation gains in the public sector.
Key actions of the plan include:
- comprehensive reform plans for countries non-compliant with the public procurement ex-ante conditionality in order to redress structural weaknesses;
- a stock-taking study on administrative capacity in the field of public procurement with country-specific information and recommendations;
- a guide to support public officials across the EU to avoid the most frequent errors and adopt best practices - Press Release;
- piloting Integrity Pacts - a tool to improve transparency and accountability in public procurement in cooperation with Transparency International - in a number of EU-funded projects,
- a new index for rating contracting authorities according to their performance;
- analysis of data and interoperability of public procurement databases,
- training courses for Managing Authorities of the EU funds or seminars on error rates
- targeted support to specific Member States and exchange of good practices, e.g. through the Peer 2 peer platform.
- e-library of good practices in public procurement in the context of European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds
All the actions, the relevant actors, outputs and deadlines are summarised in this table.
One of the concrete actions included in the Public Procurement Action Plan was a Pilot Project developed by DG REGIO in cooperation with OECD, offering tailor-made assistance to Slovakia and Bulgaria to improve administrative capacity in the field of public procurement. This initiative was based on the previous positive experience with the OECD assistance to Greece. Its main objective was to assist Member States in fulfilling ex-ante conditionalities in the area of public procurement.
The projects implemented together with OECD and the Governments of the two aforementioned countries focused on two major components. For Bulgaria, the main actions envisaged the public procurement capacity development including the evaluation of training needs and definition of training priorities, as well as the development and implementation of a training programme. For Slovakia, besides the evaluation of training needs and definition of training priorities, an important component was the development of a national e-Procurement Strategy and a roadmap.
Both projects were implemented in 2016-2017 and contributed to a successful fulfilment of ex ante conditionality on public procurement.
The "Guidance for practitioners on the avoidance of the most common errors in public procurement of projects funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds" contains practical suggestions, series of good practices, real-life examples, explanations on specific topics, case studies and templates and useful links in order to help those who are involved in the day-to-day management of EU-supported projects.