Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christopher Bovis
Chapter 19: Concessions and public procurement
Concessions have been given a lot of attention over the past years as instruments for the implementation of public-private partnerships. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission have recently studied concessions in the context of a new specific Directive which envisages the organisation of increased transparency. Taking into consideration the fact that concessions were quasi unregulated, the result would be negative effects for the implementation of the internal market and a negative impact on the achievement of best value for public money. However, the use of concessions or concession contracts is nothing new. A concession was used at the time that the Eiffel Tower was constructed in France. In 1887 a concession agreement was signed between the Minister of Trade and Industry, the city of Paris and Gustave Eiffel, a French engineer. The agreement provided among other things that Mr Eiffel had to finance the largest part of the construction, but would also acquire the right to exploit the tower (including the possibility to establish cafés and restaurants there) during the World Exhibition of 1889 as well as for a period of 20 years following this. In Belgium a large part of the railway network was historically constructed by private concessionaires.
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