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The Future of Public Procurement: The impact of the European Court of Auditors’ special report 28/2023

27 Februar 2024

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has recently published a special report 28/2023, on public procurement in the EU. In it, the Court makes a quite severe, wide-ranging critique of the state of competition for public procurements in the EU and its perceived lack of achievement of the 2014 reform objectives during the period from 2011 to 2021.

What does this mean for the future of the internal market of public procurement?

In this discussion, we will be exploring possible future scenarios of the internal market of public procurement. We will analyse the shortcomings of the internal market for public procurement and share findings of the increase of competition over the 2011 – 2021 period. We will also discuss the perceived lack of achievement of the goals of the 2014 procurement reform, including:

  • the simplification of procurement procedures
  • the implementation of strategic aspects
  • the increase in SME participation

We invite you to join our upcoming discussion that will venture into possible measures that could tackle these problems, legislatively or otherwise. Our panellists will talk about their experiences and the knowledge they have gained from their various backgrounds.


About the report

The European Court of Auditors‘ special 28/2023 report on public procurement in the EU highlights the increase in direct contract awards and single bidding as well as the limited amount of direct cross-border procurement. It identifies current regulatory barriers to competition such as restrictive selection criteria and the length and complexity of procurement procedures. The Commission has responded to the report and, while it disagrees strongly with some of its methodology, has accepted all of its recommendations and showed its willingness to explore measures to address barriers to competition in public procurement. However, the concrete nature and content of these measures remain unclear.

What will the round-table cover?

  • The causes of the decrease in competition in procurement, including the increase of direct awards, single bidding and the limited amount of direct cross-border procurement
  • The lack of achievement of the goal of simplification and the increase in duration of procurement procedures
  • The lack of increase in SME participation and implementation of strategic (e.g. environmental, social and innovative) aspects in procurements
  • The compatibility of the 2014 reform goals with the promotion of competition
  • The impact of the design of procurement procedures for competition (e.g., restrictive selection criteria, technical requirements)
  • Administrative barriers to access of operators with limited staff and know-how (especially, SMEs) arising from inflexible and lengthy procedures, including language barriers and diversity of procurement platforms across contracting authorities
  • The possible impact of the report on the regulatory framework of public procurement in the EU, including measures of a legislative nature or otherwise

EIPA moderator(s)

Gracia Vara Arribas

Gracia Vara Arribas

EU Law and Public Procurement, EU Governance, Head of the European CAF Resource Centre


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