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New EU Directive a step forward for green and social public procurement
A network of civil society organisations and trade unions welcomes the adoption of new EU directives that allow for social and environmental criteria in public procurement and calls upon Member States to put an end to a cost-centred approach.

The Network for Sustainable Development in Public Procurement (NSDPP ) welcomes the new public procurement Directives, approved today by the European Parliament, as they will allow public authorities in Europe to make true sustainable choices and spend the taxpayer's money wisely.

The new provisions affirm that contracting authorities may introduce social and environmental considerations throughout the procurement process as long as these are linked to the subject matter of the contract. Additionally, public authorities can differentiate what they purchase on the basis of the process and production methods that are not visible in the final product. It will be easier for them to rely on labels and certifications as a means to prove compliance with the sustainability criteria they have set. Member of the NSDPP are pleased with this aspect as it will allow public authorities to give preference to bidders who offer better working conditions to their workers and offer sustainably produced goods.

Importantly, the right for public authorities to provide services directly was approved and concepts of ‘in-house’ and ‘public-public cooperation’ were defined. Compliance with environmental, social and labour obligations, including collective agreements, is now enshrined in the principles of this law and tenderers can be excluded in case of non-compliance.
Mr. Dietmar Schäfers, Chair of the EFBWW Building Committee, concluded that “In implementing the new rules, Member States should use the opportunities of the Directive. For instance, they can prohibit or restrict the “use of price only” criterion, and leave contracting authorities the choice between either assessing other aspects in addition to cost effectiveness, or base their purchasing decisions solely on that criterion”. The final text of the Directive would still allow the purchase of the cheapest option - despite objections from the NSDPP and European Parliament - subsequently adding confusion to the criteria for assessing tenders.

Mr. Domenico Pesenti, EFBWW President, calls upon “all Member States to take responsibility for the environmental and social impacts of public purchasing when implementing the new Directives in their respective countries. We welcome that the new law also makes it easier to identify subcontractors along the supply chain - although it will be up to Member States to establish their joint liability”.

The EFBWW also stresses that having a clear and enabling legal framework is not enough and needs positive measures to support its application. The network also calls on the European institutions to take a coherent approach to sustainability in public procurement and to develop a “buy socially responsible and sustainable” strategy with targets and a monitoring and evaluation program.

Brussels, 15th January 2014

For additional information, please contact:
Sam Hägglund
Werner Buelen,

Related pages about:
EU Legislation Construction
Miscellaneous Construction