- Elgar European Law series
Chapter 8: The award of public procurement contracts
SELECTION AND QUALIFICATION Technical Standards The Court has approached very proactively the discriminatory use of specification requirements and standards.1 It established the ‘equivalent standard’ doctrine, where contracting authorities are prohibited from introducing technical specifications or trade marks which mention products of a certain make or source, or a particular process which favour or eliminate certain undertakings, unless these specifications are justified by the subject and nature of the contract and on condition that they are only permitted if they are accompanied by the words ‘or equivalent’. National technical standards, industrial product and service specifications and their harmonization were considered priority areas for the internal market programme. The European Commission’s White Paper for the Completion of the Internal Market stipulated for a number of Directives to be adopted and implemented with a view to eliminating discrimination based on the description of national standards. The rules on technical standards and specifications have been brought in line with the new policy which is based on the mutual recognition of national requirements, where the objectives of national legislation are essentially equivalent, and on the process of legislative harmonization of technical standards through non-governmental standardization organizations (CEPT, CEN, CENELEC).2 However, persistence of contracting authorities to specify their procurement requirements by reference to national standards poses obstacles in the public sector integration.3 The European 1 See case C-45/87, Commission v. Ireland,  ECR 4929; also case C359/93, Commission v. the Netherlands, judgment of 24 January 1995. 2 See Article 7 of Directive 88/295. See the...
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