Written answers

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Public Procurement Regulations

Photo of Andrew DoyleAndrew Doyle (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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262. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on the provisional agreement on a public procurement package achieved during the Irish EU Presidency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36169/13]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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The Irish Presidency completed detailed, lengthy and complex negotiations with the European Parliament, and achieved a provisional agreement on the Public Procurement Reform Package relating to: General public procurement directive (Classical Directive); Procurement in the utilities sector (Utilities Directive); and Services concessions (Concessions Directive). This is the first time that a Directive on concessions has been developed as until now regulation at European level has been only partially developed. The Directives aim at simplifying the rules around procurement procedures, reducing the administrative burden on public authorities and potential contractors; thereby attracting a greater number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as reducing the costs of procuring and contributing to a better use of resources. I welcome this agreement as it will strengthen the generation of jobs and growth, given that public authorities across the European Union spend approximately €2 trillion per annum (some 19% of EU GDP) on the procurement of goods, services and works. The easier access to such contracts for SMEs is a fundamental criterion- there are over 20 million SMEs in Europe, accounting for more than 98% of all enterprises–their exclusion from such contracts made little economic sense. The simplified administrative framework will mean the inclusion of smaller businesses for contracts that have always been clearly within their capacity to perform.

The agreement also includes incentives for authorities to divide their requirements in lots –something which will also further attract SMEs. The gains to be had by such revisions are not confined to industry alone-by increasing and broadening access to such contracts we are helping to create competition, to drive efficiencies and ensure the public monies are being used in a cost-effective manner to provide for public need but at the same time support job creation and innovation. The negotiations were detailed, lengthy and complex, requiring significant compromise on the part of all three institutions. These compromises will now be examined in depth, ahead of final approval at the Committee of Permanent Representatives and the European Parliament.

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