Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christopher Bovis
Chapter 1: The principles of public procurement regulation
One of the most important principles of the Public Procurement Directives is the principle of transparency. The principle of transparency serves two main objectives: the first is to introduce a system of openness in public purchasing of the Member States, so a greater degree of accountability should be established and potential direct discrimination on grounds of nationality should be eliminated. The second objective aims at ensuring that transparency in public procurement represents a substantial basis for a system of best practice for both parts of the equation, but in particular relevant to the supply side, to the extent that the latter has a more proactive role in determining the needs of the demand side. Transparency in public procurement is achieved through community-wide publicity and advertisement of public procurement contracts over certain thresholds by means of publication of three types of notices in the Official Journal of the European Communities: Periodic Indicative Notices (PIN); Invitations to tender; and Contract Award Notices (CAN). The principle of transparency, which serves as the ignition of public procurement regulation, has imprinted some significant effects in the regime, namely the effect of price competitiveness, the effect of flexibility and the effect of verification in the delivery of public services. Transparency, as a principle in public purchasing, has an obvious trade effect, that of price competitiveness.