Sector News
Newswire Weekly – European Public Procurement Update

This is our weekly European public procurement news roundup, bringing you recent public sector stories and information from around Europe’s news portals about how more than a trillion Euros of taxpayer money is being spent. We have always said that this will become part of a future initiative to bring you more frequent, global online reporting. Well, now it’s happening: read our first stroy.

Public Spend Forum Europe transitions to new global Public Spend Forum Website

And the big news this week is – we are now part of the wider Public Spend Forum organisation, led by Raj Sharma and his team in Washington DC. PSFE now has a website here that is far bigger and better than this one! It incorporates not just regular new articles, thought leadership, and educational material but also a range of networking opportunities – discussion groups, the chance to link with other members and so on. Our news stories will be appearing on the Europe page of that site, so do take a few seconds to sign up – you won’t need to be involved in any other way than continuing to read our roundup – unless you want to make the most of the new benefits of course.

And in other news …

Macedonia is cancelling almost one-quarter of its 2016 public procurement tenders

In a report published this week, the Center for Civil Communications (CCC), a Skopje-based NGO, announced that Macedonia has cancelled partially or in full 23% of its 2016 tenders, representing 4,230 public procurement tenders. It found that more than a third had ‘no bidders turning up.’ Others had ‘unacceptable offers, unfavourable prices and missing tender documents.’ The report also finds that public procurement tenders with higher estimated values are cancelled more often than smaller tenders. You can read the full story on SeeNews.

Italy has cut almost €100bn from public spending in just 3 years

Italy’s parliament heard this week that the country has cut expenditure by almost €100bn over three years, this comprises €25bn ($27.8bn) in 2016, with €30bn in 2017 and €31.5bn expected in 2018. The chief spending officer announced this was through mainly public procurement, health spending, and cuts to government personnel through attrition. With the annual budget due in October, and public debt still high, Italy is under pressure to get its finances in order, reports Verdict.

European companies to join economic partnership with Japan

Under negotiation between Japan and the EU is an economic trade pact that could allow European companies to bid in some of Japan’s local government procurements.  Announced The Japan Times this week: “Under the World Trade Organization agreement on government procurement, Japan’s central government, prefectures and ordinance-designated major cities are required to allow foreign firms to take part in bidding for projects of a certain scale. The rule, however, does not apply to projects for local government-managed universities and hospitals … The EU, which allows companies outside the region to participate even in municipal-level bidding, is pressing hard for midsize cities to open up to foreign firms.”

Belarus changes in public procurement to reduce budget expenditure

This Autumn the Belarusian parliament will consider a new version of public procurement law to look at new options for state procurement orders in construction. The growing number of violations in the public procurement system has prompted changes in current legislation to strengthen competition in this sector. Fuller transparency is sought, with full information about public procurement tenders and received quotes from counterparties to be published, and requirements for suppliers will be standardised. Any changes to signed agreements will be prohibited – the full story is in Belarus in Focus.

EBRD/UK supporting public procurement improvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The EBRD, with support from the UK government, is helping to improve public procurement practices in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A project has begun to enhance efficiency, improve transparency and promote competition in public procurement – “The new project, funded by the UK government through its Good Governance Fund, will include technical assistance to establish a faster and more efficient appeals process which is currently suffering from high volumes of complaints,” says The FINANCIAL.

EC fines companies in automotive cartel

The European Commission has fined companies involved in a car lighting cartel in the automotive sector more than €26 million for breaching EU antitrust rules. “The Commission has sanctioned another cartel in the automotive sector. Three lighting producers harmed car and commercial vehicle manufacturers by colluding instead of competing against each other,” said the Competition Commissioner this week. The three headlamps or daytime running lights manufacturers breached EU law by discussing quotes for tenders and negotiation strategies and exchanging information on the status of negotiations with customers regarding price increases, reported NewEurope.