Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christopher Bovis
Chapter 6: Sub-dimensional public procurement in the European Union
The EU Public Procurement Directives (Public Sector Directive and Utilities Directive), cover only a part of the public procurement contracts; those that are not covered by the directives make up more than 80 per cent of the entire procurement market. This demands an effort to investigate the legal regime applicable to such contracts. They include ‘sub-dimensional procurement’ (below thresholds contracts), excluded contracts and concessions, but in this chapter only the regime for contracts below thresholds and non-priority services will be analyzed extensively. In terms of the number of procedures, based on an estimate provided by DG MARKT, less than 10 per cent of public procurement procedures are subject to the provisions of EU public procurement directives. Moreover, 90 per cent of the procedures recorded in national statistics are for amounts falling below the thresholds laid down in EU legislation. Even when considering the value of contracts, procurement subject to EU legislation is estimated to be greater than procurement below EU thresholds. One must keep in mind, though, that this is not due to the obligation to apply the directives, but to Member States’ voluntary expansion of the coverage of the directives. In addition, a significant part of public expenditure on the acquisition of goods, works and services is made through other mechanisms than the award of public contracts (for example, payment structures in health, education) or involves procurement which is exempt from the provisions of EU procurement legislation (for example, services concessions).
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