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European Commission Conference of 19th March 2014

Date 31/03/2014

New rules for procurement and concessions 

On 19th March, FIEC participated in the conference on the new public procurement package organised by the European Commission in order to discuss the follow-up and implementation of these new rules.

Mr. Jan Wierenga, Managing Director of BAM Civiel and Chair of the FIEC working group on public procurement, spoke in the panel dedicated to innovation. He stressed that some of the most important instruments to promote innovation in public procurement were already available in the 2004 directives and have not changed much in the new directives (i.e. use of the Most Economically Advantageous Tender as award criterion rather than the lowest price, acceptance of variants, performance-oriented requirements, strict respect of confidentiality, reasonable time limits for candidates to present their tenders...). He repeated however that it is above all a question of mindset and the professionalism of public procurers, who are the ones who decide whether or not they give room for innovation in their calls for tenders and whether or not to show flexibility towards the contractors, in terms of any innovative approaches in their tenders. 

Of course, contractors have not waited for the new public procurement package before introducing innovation in their building and infrastructure construction projects, especially when they have had enough room to manoeuvre.

Regarding the new innovation partnership, Mr. Wierenga was quite cautious: this is a brand new procedure which still needs to prove that it is valuable for construction contracts.

The other panels were dedicated to simplification and SMEs, environmental and social aspects and concessions.

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