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Government procurement in Europe is bound by certain international obligations in the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and the EU Public Procurement Directives. U.S.-based companies are allowed to bid on public tenders covered by the GPA, while European subsidiaries of U.S. companies may bid on all public procurement contracts covered by the EU directives in the European Union. This report describes the conditions and types of contracts that are open to U.S. companies, and for clarity purposes, distinguishes between U.S.-based companies and European subsidiaries of U.S. companies, as they do not enjoy the same bidding rights. This report also discusses tools and resources that are available to U.S. companies to gain access to government procurement contracts in Europe.
The EU actively supports and promotes Green Public Procurement (GPP) in the context of its policy on sustainable consumption and production, and public purchasers at all levels in the EU are increasingly aware of the need to meet specific environment policy goals and targets for greenhouse gas emissions, energy and waste reductions. EU Public Procurement Directives allow public contracting authorities to include environmental considerations into their procurement procedures for public works, services and supplies contracts. The Directives specifically mention the possibilities for adopting environmental considerations at the level of technical specifications, award criteria and contract performance clauses. With this focus, the European Commission hopes to boost green purchasing, thereby encouraging the development of environmentally friendly technologies for the marketplace. U.S. companies are advised to be aware of the tools that public purchasers use to implement those policy goals and this report aims to help them be well prepared to successfully bid on contracts.
This report outlines legislation related to bidders’ involvement in feasibility studies and other advance research work, and their subsequent ability to participate in a member states’ public procurement process. Pertinent provisions in the current EU legislation (EU Utilities Directive 2004/17) and provisions proposed in the revised Utilities Directive, the WTO Government Procurement Agreement, and EU case law are discussed below.
The time of Member States’ Ministries of Defense ability to purchase defense equipment according to their own national rules has come to an end. EU Directive 2009/81/EC governs the procurement procedures for defense and non-military security supply, services and works contracts. The EU Directive aims at harmonizing acquisition procedures throughout the EU: first by increasing competition and encouraging cross-border bidding among European bidders, so as to prevent systematic sole-source procurement or non-competitive procurement from national suppliers; second, by increasing transparency through the obligation to advertise defense contracts in the EU Official Journal. Various contract performance conditions make indirect offsets in defense contracts incompatible with EU Community law (see our separate report on: “EU Policy on Offsets”).
There are various ways to sell goods and services to European institutions. This report outlines some of the most useful websites that vendors should be familiar with in order to bid on contracts with European institutions. For example, the European Commission, the Council Secretariat and the European Parliament all need a wide array of goods and services, ranging from consultancy on policies and legislation, to office equipment and data management systems. For example, around 9,000 contracts are awarded each year through public procurement procedures by the European Commission. This may be a business opportunity for your company!
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the financing arm of the European Union. The EIB finances major investment projects in the EU in the areas of telecommunication, energy, environment, health and socio-economic infrastructure. The bank lends to both public and private borrowers for investment projects in the European Union, in EU candidate countries and in developing countries. Companies interested in obtaining a loan for large investment projects from the EIB may contact the bank directly, while smaller loans are negotiable through commercial banks in the country of the project. This report also outlines the opportunities for experts in project development through a new joint EIB/EC/EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) initiative. The U.S. Commercial Service at the US Mission to the EU has developed a specific tenders database that gathers all EIB supported projects outside the European Union, which are open to participation by US-based companies.
For the period 2007-2013, the European Union has replaced the PHARE, ISPA, SAPARD, Turkey and CARDS pre-accession instruments with the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). The IPA consolidates the management and objectives of those financing programs and streamlines the financing process. As a result of this consolidation of the pre-accession financing schemes some new guidelines, including reciprocity, should be consulted to successfully bid on EU contracts originating in candidate or potential candidate countries and financed through the IPA. Currently, the EC has allocated EUR 11.468 billion to candidate and potential candidate countries over the next funding period.