EPSU response to Commission's consultation on Green Paper on EU public procurement rules

(20 april 2011) EPSU’s response focuses on public services and sustainable procurement. On public services EPSU stresses that new EU rules should not put pressure on public authorities to use public procurement to provide public services. The EU must remain neutral as regards the financing, organisation and delivery of public services and not ‘promote’ public procurement. There are good reasons why public authorities may chose to provide public services ‘in-house’ and not put them out to tender.

EU rules on procurement should not undermine this and should clearly respect the right of local, regional and national public authorities to provide public services directly to citizens. This means EU rules should: - Be ‘without prejudice’ to the right of public authorities to provide services ‘in-house. By ‘in-house’ we include public-public cooperation and cooperation with non-profit making providers who meet general interest criteris. - Should clearly ‘exclude’ public-public cooperation from procurement rules - Not oblige or encourage compulsory competitive tendering, or give rights to economic operators to initiate tendering processes - Not promote Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - Take account of national frameworks that influence the way public procurement takes place in practice.

On sustainable procurement, EPSU argues that the social (sustainable) dimension to public procurement needs to be strengthened so that it is a tool to promote social, environmental and economic convergence upwards. This means removing the ‘lowest price’ option and ensuring that sustainability criteria are included in the different stages of the procurement process. As part of an ‘informal network on sustainable public procurement we have also submitted a joint response to the consultation (see articles below).

EPSU stresses that EU procurement rules should underpin quality of work objectives. In particular: - Employment conditions must be integrated fully into the procurement process, not just dealt with in the execution phase, i.e., also the ‘subject-matter’ and technical specifications - Public authorities need to have the tools to monitor and evaluate the implementation of contracts. Observance of collective agreements provides evidence of the quality of employment conditions - The ‘lowest price’ option should be removed as a procurement option - Public bodies should be entitled to require that the continuity of employment relations are safeguarded when staff are transferred to new employers as a result of procurement - Public authorities should not merely safeguard minimum employment terms and conditions.

Public authorities should be entitled to require that tenderers apply relevant collective agreements or other relevant employment conditions which are valid and applicable, in the jurisdiction where the service will be performed. The EU rules should oblige public authorities at all levels to apply the provisions of ILO Convention 94 - The EU should facilitate the exchange of data on bidders who should be disqualified from tendering For more information contact: Penny Clarke, Head of EU policy . Tel +32 2 250 1084