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European Commission Expert Group on Public Procurement – Call for Applications

The European Commission has a stakeholders’ expert group on public procurement which was set up in 2012 by the Director-General of DG Internal Market and Services, who appointed 20 members of the group for a three-year renewable period. “The task of the group is to provide the Commission with high-quality legal, economic, technical and/or practical insight and expertise to help it shape the EU’s public procurement policy”.

Following a decision of the Director-General of DG GROW (ex DG MARKT), the Commission is now calling for applications for the next three year period, with a view to selecting twenty new members of the group. Those people should “represent a common interest that is relevant to the field of procurement or to represent organisations in the broad sense”. But the field is pretty wide, as that could include;

“experts with first-hand experience in the award of public contracts, either due to their position on the supply chain, on the awarding side, or due to regular contacts or experience in the field of public procurement. He/she may be an expert from business, including SMEs, associations of contracting authorities, academia, a lawyer, economist, statistics expert or other”.

The “call for applications” is available here, and includes a long list of the criteria that the Commission will take into account when selecting the team, including various competencies that would be useful, from knowledge of electronic procurement to SME participation, from innovation to international issues.

And, as you might expect, the Commission wants “to strike a balance within the group in terms of representation of interests and expertise in procurement, and in terms of gender and geographical origin”.  So understandably, we’re not going to see 20 Spaniards who all work for SME providers selected , I guess. As there are now 28 countries in the EU, that’s less than one per country if it was done strictly on that basis. But the appointed members of the group of experts must be nationals of any Member State of the European Union or of an acceding country or a European Economic Area.

Applications close on the 25 April and you can email, post or hand deliver (!) to Brussels. You need to submit a cv, and the invitation gives details of what you need to include. The meetings of the group will take place in English, and applicants must be able to express themselves fluently in English – but knowledge of French or German will be an asset. Applications “must be completed in English, clearly indicating the applicant’s nationality and including the necessary documentation”.

Meetings take place twice a year, although one suspects that there might be a fair bit of reading and commenting to be done outside of those meetings, and you will be expected to “participate actively” in those meetings, preparation and follow up. Members must respect confidentiality, obviously, and commit to acting independently even if they are in some sense representing an interest group.

It all sounds fascinating, I’m personally tempted to apply, but now for the bad news – yes, I’m afraid it is travel and subsistence expenses related to the activities of the group only, there is no huge fee for participating. Again, that’s not surprising I guess and as a tax-payer, seems fair enough!

Here is the link again, and if you want any further information, you can contact Ms Marta Micietova, Ms Csilla Szalai or Ms Irena–Alis Riviere-Osipov.