On January 5th, the European Commission released a statement that it had formally adopted the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD). This is basically an electronic self-declaration document to be submitted by suppliers/bidders interested in tendering for contracts for the supply of goods or services to public bodies anywhere in the European Union. It was created under the EU’s 2014 Directive on Procurement and is part of the public procurement reform which will enter into force on 18 April 2016.
The aim of the ESPD is “to simplify the qualification process for tendering by permitting businesses to self-declare that they meet the necessary regulatory criteria or commercial capability requirements of the public authority concerned, without needing to submit proof unless subsequently selected as the appointed contractor.” Then they must be able to provide the supporting documents necessary to prove compliance. It is also intended, therefore, to considerably reduce the administrative tasks for companies, especially SMEs, tasks which vary considerably from country to country, and facilitate the burden on contracting authorities by introducing a single, common form across Europe.
Countries that are not equipped or ready to use electronic tendering exclusively now can print, fill out, scan and submit the document that way up until October 2018, when electronic communication will become mandatory. But a free, web-based system is being developed for Member States and businesses to use now and funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is to be made available to facilitate integration of the ESPD into existing electronic procurement systems.
The EC’s website Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations states: “Many suppliers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, see the significant amount of certificates related to exclusion and selection criteria as a major obstacle to their participation in public procurement. The ESPD works as a self-declaration document intended for preliminary evidence, facilitating cross-border participation of potential bidders in public procurement procedures … The service is provided free of charge to Member States’ public administrations, contracting authorities and European institutions. Thanks to its user-friendliness and structured data format it will contribute to higher interoperability of public procurement solutions all over Europe.”
You can read more about the initiative here on the EC website. And you can see through this link the complete form (under annex 2) of the COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2016/7 of 5 January 2016 establishing the standard form for the European Single Procurement Document.