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Anti-fraud measures in public procurement in the EU single market

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In 2014, a first report on corruption and anticorruption in the EU member states has been released. The horizontal topic is corruption in public procurement, a topic of a major importance from the public spending perspective in the member states and taking into account the adoption of the New Directive on Public Procurement that will change the legislation in this sector in the entire European Union. The importance of the sector is shown by the fact that 20% of the GDP at EU level is spent by institutions and public authorities, as well as other public entities through procedures that involve the procurement of goods, services and works. The European Commission tried to evaluate the level of corruption in the procurement processes through research projects and concluded that in 8 EU countries the direct costs related to corruption taking into consideration only 5 activity sectors were in 2012 about 1.4 – 2.4 billion Euros. The report includes recommendations for the member states – adapted to the needs and realities of each of them – and identifies good practices that may be generalized.

The EU is first of all a common market. Procurement is regulated mainly to ensure the transparent, correct and uniform spending of money. The market is open to all companies that fulfill the eligibility criteria and includes all the bids of the EU public entities. The legislation on public procurement also includes provisions relevant to anticorruption policies: transparency, detailed procedures checked by independent institutions, limits for the margin of discretion on amendments of the contract, administrative and criminal sanctions, and black-listing of companies.

The report also shows that although the infringement procedures do not refer to directly to individual corruption cases that should be dealt with at member state level, the vulnerabilities identified increase corruption risks.. Out of 97 infringement procedures related to public procurement, almost a half refer to three EU countries. The most affected sectors are the waste management, IT services, railways, health and energy.

A new debate on the national legislative framework is an opportunity to address the legislative and institutional deficiencies identified. Expert Forum has produced an inventory of Croatian good practices and advocates for introducing them in Romania. One of our objectives is to explore the practical ways through which the common market can become a reality that will allow companies to have real time access to the tenders published by the public entities in both countries in a standardized and easy to read manner. Read more about our recommendations in the report, here.


This paper has been released today, 28th May, in Brussels. More about the event here.

This event is supported by the European Union Programme Hercule II (2007-2013). This programme is implemented by the European Commission. It was established to promote activities to combat fraud affecting the EU’s financial interests, including cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting.

(For more information see fraud/about-us/funding/index en.htm)
This communication reflects the view only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of information contained therein.

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