Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christopher Bovis
Chapter 14: Public procurement and competition: some challenges arising from recent developments in EU public procurement law
This chapter explores the recent OECD push for more competition in public procurement and its role as an influential factor in the 2014 reform of EU public procurement rules. It goes on to critically assess three of the main challenges to keeping public procurement procompetitive: (i) the difficult balance in terms of procurement transparency created by the clash between competition and corruption concerns; (ii) the magnification of the undesired (potential) anticompetitive effects of public procurement that centralized procurement may generate, as well as its increasing use as an improper tool of market regulation; and (iii) the possible competitive distortions and the potential advantages resulting from the generalization of eProcurement. The conclusions extract some common patterns derived from the previous analysis and suggest some policy recommendations mainly oriented at boosting oversight and professionalization of procurement. The relationship between public procurement and competition has been receiving an increasing amount of attention, both in academicand policy-making circles.It has been clearly stressed that the ‘starting point for achieving best value for money in government procurement is a regulatory framework that is based on the principle of competition and that submits public spending to the adherence to competitive procurement methods’. In that regard, it is becoming common ground that public procurement holds a complex and bidirectional relationship with market competition and that, consequently, a tighter link between public procurement and competition law enforcement needs to be established.
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