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Commission further simplifies public procurement across the EU

Yesterday, the European Commission adopted the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) that will considerably reduce the administrative burden for companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who want to have a fair chance at winning a public contract.

The ESPD will replace the current system, which can differ drastically between Member States. While some countries have already introduced some form of self-declaration of suitability, others require all interested parties to provide full documentary evidence of their suitability, financial status and abilities.

The ESPD will allow all businesses to electronically self-declare that they meet the necessary regulatory criteria or commercial capability requirements, and only the winning company will need to submit all the documentation proving that it qualifies for the contract. To facilitate its use, a free, web-based system is being developed for Member States and businesses.

As Member States can postpone the obligation to exclusively use electronic means of communication until 18 October 2018, the ESPD can be printed, filled in manually, scanned and sent electronically until then.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said: “By reducing the volume of documents needed, the European Single Procurement Document will make it easier for companies to take part in public award procedures. Public administrations will benefit from a wider range of offers ensuring better quality and value for money.” Today’s simplification of the tender procedure is one of the major elements of public procurement reform which will enter into force on 18 April 2016.

Under the new system, suppliers must state that they are able, upon request and without delay, to provide the supporting documents necessary to prove compliance, unless they are already accessible via public registers. This means less administrative burden for businesses, particularly with respect to entities who fail to win the tender procedure.

The web-based system is based on a data model that was developed in cooperation with a wide range of stakeholders active in the field of standardisation. Funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will be made available to facilitate integration of the ESPD into existing electronic procurement solutions. The ESPD will allow for the reuse of data filled in by businesses in previous procurement procedures. It is also the entry point for the digitisation of the qualification phase of public procurement.

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