eProcurement Legal Framework
New rules have changed the way EU countries and public authorities spend a large part of the €1.9 trillion paid for public procurement every year in Europe. By placing increased emphasis on the use of electronic tools, public spending should become more transparent, evidence-oriented, optimized, while simplifying SMEs participation.
In particular, the use of a European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) consisting of an updated self-declaration will remove the need to submit a number of certificates and other documents in the bidding process; by limiting the turnover requirements and introducing the option of dividing tenders into lots, it is now easier for SMEs to bid for public contracts.
The new legislation also aims to ensure better value for money by including the possibility of choosing the best quality-price ratio, since Member States are free to eliminate price as the sole award criterion.
By 18 April 2016, EU countries had to transpose the following three directives into national law:
- Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement
- Directive 2014/25/EU on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors
- Directive 2014/23/EU on the award of concession contracts
On 16 April 2014, the eInvoicing Directive 2014/55/EU was adopted. EU countries and the European Commission decided to introduce a European Standard for eInvoicing in response to the many eInvoice formats used across the EU.
On 5 January 2016, the European Commission adopted the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/7 establishing the standard form for the European Single Procurement Document.
The new eProcurement requirements will be gradually introduced in the EU as follows:
- tender opportunities and tender documents will become electronically available by April 2016;
- central purchasing bodies should move to full electronic means of communication including electronic bid submission by April 2017;
- eSubmission should be made mandatory for all contracting authorities and all procurement procedures by October 2018 (two years after the expected transposition of the Directive 2014/24/EU);
- the eInvoicing standard is expected to be finalised by May 2017, for adoption by Member States by 27th November 2018 and implementation by all contracting authorities by November 2019.
These new rules simplify public procurement procedures and make them more flexible. Electronic invoices will be able to flow seamlessly across the EU. This will benefit public purchasers and businesses, particularly SMEs.