The opinion will follow up on the CoR's commitment, in connection with the "Task force on subsidiarity, proportionality and doing less more efficiently" and the Better Regulation agenda, to providing feedback on the implementation of EU legislation at local and regional level. The CoR and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) have therefore undertaken a joint EU-wide survey to assess local and regional authorities' implementation of the legal framework for public procurement, and commissioned a study on the subject.
The opinion will also highlight that the comprehensive reform of the public procurement directives carried out in 2014 was transposed into Member States' national law in some cases in 2016 and in some cases considerably later; now, a maximum of three years since the entry into force of national public procurement law with direct effect, we thus have only limited insight into practical experience in implementing these laws.
The European Commission is expected to present its report on public procurement based on the monitoring reports of the Member States Art. 83 (3) of Directive 2014/24/EU in March 2020. When this report is presented and the European Parliament adopts its subsequent report (timetable unknown) on the same topic the impact of the CoR opinion may be estimated.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- points out that both administrative practice and economic operators have only just adapted to the new public procurement system, and in some cases are still in the process of adjusting; stresses that, these adjustments involve a not inconsiderable burden in terms of training and advice, in some cases from external legal advisers; in these circumstances, firmly believes that it would not be appropriate to introduce new legislative requirements in the next few years;
- stresses that cross-border procurement has not brought any added value for local and regional authorities. Though EU-wide procurement procedures are carried out regularly, costing considerable time and money, few if any cross-border contracts are awarded;
- stresses that, in line with the principle of local self-government, the option allowed for in the 2014 reforms of taking account of green, social or innovative criteria in public service provision must remain entirely at the discretion of the local authority concerned; takes the view that any future obligation to apply strategic procurement objectives to any procurement process should be clearly rejected, in order to avoid unnecessarily overburdening the procurement procedure; points out that in many procurement procedures it is not expedient to take account of strategic procurement objectives, for example in the case of standard procedures for the supply of products;
- calls on the Commission to launch a process for reliable and clear EU-wide labelling and certificates, particularly in the field of environmental sustainability, in order to create legal certainty and reduce burdens for contracting authorities on the ground.