Procurement News – Europe

Latvian FinMin: no public procurement deals are threatened

April 29 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

No public procurement tender is threatened, and no tenders have been cancelled, the Finance Ministry in Latvia said today following media reports about major procurement deals being halted due to two new laws that still have not come into force, informs LETA.

As reported, the new Public Procurement Law and Law on the Procurement of Public Service Providers were endorsed at a meeting of state secretaries already in 2015, but there has been no further progress. Therefore Latvia has failed to transpose two European Union public procurement directives by the April 18 deadline. In order not to lose the EU funds available to Latvia, the Finance Ministry has recommended state and municipal institutions to postpone their tenders until the directives are transposed, several newspapers report today.
 
According to the Finance Ministry, it has issued recommendations on actions during the transition period while the EU directives are being transposed.
 
No tenders have been banned, says the Finance Ministry. Furthermore, the Finance Ministry has found a solution so the said two laws could be passed faster.
 
According to the Finance Ministry, the phrase in the ministry’s letter sent to state and municipal institutions, which recommended postponing all major procurement deals, was due to “inconsistent communication”, and the ministry has already apologized to all the parties involved for the faulty communication.
 
The new procurement laws have just a few sections related to the directives that Latvia has not yet transposed. For the most part, the new laws are meant to improve the current public procurement system. Also, part of the provisions in the EU directives has been incorporated in other laws and regulations of Latvia, which have already come into force.
 
The ministry emphasizes that it had timely started transposing the directives, involving a number of other institutions and social partners in the process. The discussions during the work on the new legislation helped reach solutions to many important problems concerning public procurement process, and it will be improved significantly after the new laws come into force.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.baltic-course.com

oh, dear!… not that they had 2 years to implement the directives and many more years knowing it was coming up… Latvia is not the only one unfortunately all but a handful of countries have implemented into their legislation the new directives by the 18th April…

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Scottish council probes ‘extremely serious’ procurement corruption allegations

April 28 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

North Lanarkshire Council has opened an investigation into what it calls “serious allegations of corruption” in its procurement processes.

Council leader Jim Logue instructed chief executive Paul Jukes to launch the probe following an anonymous tip off in a letter to council.

Logue said: “These allegations, which are detailed, concern some of the council’s procurement processes. If true, they are extremely serious.”

The council’s internal audit team has already begun to investigate the allegations and will hand the case to the police if further evidence of wrongdoing is found.

The internal audit team has access to all files held by any part of the council and all IT systems.

“It is essential that the people of North Lanarkshire are able to have full confidence in the way the council conducts its business and I am determined that we are transparent at all times,” said Logue.

“Although these are currently unsubstantiated, anonymous allegations, I believe that it is right to carry out a full investigation and share any evidence which comes to light with the police.”

The council declined to comment further‎.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.cips.org

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Public procurement could be next TTIP deal breaker

April 21 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

As EU-US negotiators prepare for a new round of transatlantic trade talks in New York next week, officials fear TTIP might run into a new brick wall: Public procurement.

The warning came from the European Parliament, where the International Trade Committee was holding a hearing on Wednesday (20 April).

German MEP Bernd Lange, an SPD lawmaker from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group who chairs the committee, said public procurement could turn into a TTIP deal-breaker as negotiators seem stuck in boasting the openness of their own public contracts market.

“There has been something of a ‘beauty contest’ over which country is the ’most’ open in terms of public procurement in recent years,” said one analyst at the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE), a think tank.

“And the EU has appointed itself as the fairest in all the land,” he added.

Lost in numbers

If Europeans estimate that the “de jure” openness of the EU procurement markets is at roughly 85%, against 32% for the US, American officials told EurActiv.com that EU firms have more guaranteed access to public tenders in the US.

Taking the World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as proof, the US said it guarantees access to markets worth approximately $320 billion per year. Meanwhile, the EU covers approximately $333 billion, but only guarantees that US can compete for half of that amount —roughly $158 billion— officials claim.

According to US Trade Representative Michael Froman, the Federal Government spends approximately $500 billion annually for a wide range of goods and services and the EU has guaranteed access to approximately $200 billion – or two-fifths of federal procurement. This $200 billion is not subject to restrictions like the Buy American Act, the Berry Amendment and the US SME programme.

But here is the hick. The EU says European firms face discrimination even on those two-fifths of accessible public procurement.

A source in the European Commission’s trade directorate told EurActiv that even though some European companies have found a way to comply with the stringent domestic restrictions and win public contracts in the US, they have been obliged to change their supply chains and even establish their production in the US.

For example, the US procurement market for buses and public transportation is severely restricted for European suppliers, the EU official said. These restrictions are linked in particular to the Buy American Act, which requires that all steel and iron is produced in the US.

Things get even more complicated when going to the sub-federal procurement level, which stands at 60% of total public procurement in the US. While US officials say they provide guaranteed access to EU companies for $120 billion annually worth of contracts, the EU contends that the figure is overestimated.

“Federal money comes with strings attached,” said the EU official, stressing that this practically means that the most valuable infrastructure procurements are excluded from the GPA scope.

“Whatever the claims of ‘actual openness’, the reality is that the US federal government applies a ‘Buy American’ policy on federal procurement and on procurement which the Federal Government funds,” the EU official added.

Not Buy American, but Buy Transatlantic

Such rules make it more cumbersome for European SMEs to access large projects as subcontractors.

The EU would welcome a privileged agreement where “we would get rid of all the strings attached,” said the EU source. “Why can’t we transform the ‘Buy American’ into a ‘Buy Transatlantic’?” he wondered.

Europeans claim this could be a way of solving the mind boggling exercise of tackling the lack of proper statistical data, and finalise talks before President Barack Obama steps down in 2017, averting a potential new era of uncertainty for TTIP, depending on his successor.

TTIP TALKS NEED SWIFT PROGRESS TO AVOID TRUMP THREAT

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiators must soon strike deals on market access for services and certification of regulatory standards, sources have said, if the EU-US trade deal is to be struck before the end of the Obama Administration.

EurActiv.com
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and US Trade Representative Michael Froman have met face to face three times in the last two months, as well as having regular calls. The European Commission is handling the negotiations on a mandate handed to it by EU leaders.

Malmström said in Washington last March that she wanted to settle major differences over US “Buy American” government procurement standards, how to resolve investment disputes, and over Europe’s many geographical rules that govern food products from Parma ham to feta cheese, by the summer.

Both trade partners also said in February that they hope to make significant progress in consolidating texts, as part of this planned increase in momentum.

Even though EU officials do not expect an offer on public procurement at the upcoming negotiating round, the burning issue will stand high over the talks.

The issue might well come up during talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama, who will meet on Sunday in Hannover.

BACKGROUND

The European Commission has estimated that an ‘ambitious’ TTIP deal would increase the size of the EU economy by around €120 billion (or 0.5% of GDP) and the US by €95 billion (or 0.4% of GDP). Economically, TTIP can benefit consumers from creating cheaper products, according to the Commission.

A study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research estimates that in total the average European household of four will see its disposable income increase by an estimated €500 per year, as a result of the combined effect of wage increases and price reductions.

This would be a permanent increase in the amount of wealth that the European and American economies can produce every year.

But the deal has been beset by controversies centering on accusations that the talks are too secret, will drive down environmental standards or leave governments at the mercy of lawsuits brought by rich multinational companies.

TIMELINE

24 April: US, EU and German leaders meet in Hannover.
25 April: 13th round of TTIP negotiations
7 June: Final presidential primaries
End-2016: Target date to sign TTIP
January 2017: Obama steps down

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.euractiv.com

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Buying green handbook – Green Public Procurement – Environment – European Commission

April 11 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

On April 2016 the European Commission published a fully revised version of Buying Green! – A Handbook on green public procurement.
The Handbook is the European Commission’s main guidance document to help public authorities buy goods and services with a lower environmental impact. It is also a useful reference for policy makers and companies responding to green tenders.
The third edition of the Handbook includes:
Guidance on how environmental considerations can be included at each stage of the procurement process in the current EU legal framework (adopted in 2014)
Practical examples drawn from contracting authorities across EU Member States
Sector specific GPP approaches for buildings, food and catering services, road transport vehicles and energy-using products.
The second edition of the Buying Green! Handbook (from 2011) is available here:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/gpp/buying_handbook_en.htm ;

Sourced through Scoop.it from: ec.europa.eu

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Green Public Procurement Newsletter April

April 11 in Daily News by eisc No Comments

Sourced through Scoop.it from: ec.europa.eu

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