OPINION on the public procurement strategy package


The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1. Stresses that public procurement markets are of major economic importance, given that procurement expenditure is estimated to account for 20 % of global GDP, and stresses that improving access to public procurement markets in third countries and levelling the playing field for European businesses can therefore be major drivers for growth in trade of goods and services, and lead to greater choice and better value for taxpayers in the EU and third countries;

2. Points out that public procurement markets in third countries are often de jure and/or de facto closed to EU bidders; encourages the Commission to collect and provide better data on international public procurement procedures; recalls that the Commission estimates that more than half the global procurement market is currently closed to free international competition owing to protectionist measures, which are globally on a rise, while approximately EUR 352 billion in value of EU public procurement is open to bidders from member countries of the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA); stresses the need for the EU to address this imbalance without resorting to protectionist measures; asks the Commission to ensure that European companies are given market access similar to that which our foreign competitors enjoy in the EU market and notes that the proposed international procurement instrument (IPI) could under certain conditions be a means to create leverage for increased market access;

3. Welcomes the fact that one of the six priority areas for the Commission’s action in the field of public procurement is the improvement of access to procurement markets; stresses that improving access to public procurement markets in third countries, including at sub-national level, constitutes a strong offensive interest for the EU in trade negotiations, given that many EU companies are highly competitive in various sectors; stresses that government procurement should be included in each future trade agreement with a view to maximising the participation of European companies in foreign tenders; calls on the Commission to ensure compliance with and proper implementation of the provisions concerning public procurement markets contained in the EU’s free trade agreements; recalls that trade agreements should be used to improve access to third countries’ procurement markets and recalls that this improved access, and enhanced rules for modern, efficient and transparent procurement procedures, which are crucial for securing better value for public money, should be key elements in any trade agreements concluded by the EU, while fully respecting the legitimate public policy objectives enshrined in the Union’s public procurement directives; stresses that third-country economic operators must comply with European social and environmental criteria for the awarding of public procurement contracts, as set out in Directives 2014/23/EU, 2014/24/EU and 2014/25/EU, and encourages, in line with this, the use of most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) criteria to award such contracts; notes that bilateral and sub-regional free trade agreements do not always guarantee full access to procurement markets; asks the Commission to negotiate the greatest possible access to public procurement markets in third countries;

4. Emphasises that any strategy to open up public procurement markets in third countries must concretely address the obstacles and specific needs of SMEs to facilitate their access to markets, as they are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to penetrating third-country public procurement markets; considers that the effects on SMEs of exposure to new competitors from third countries must also be given due consideration; calls on the Commission to encourage the inclusion of SME-friendly procurement procedures (including cross-border initiatives and the division of tenders into lots) in trade agreements; stresses the potential benefits, for SMEs in particular, of digitalising via e-procurement in all public procurement processes with third countries;

5. Points out that major emerging economies, such as Brazil, China, India and Russia, are not yet part of the GPA, while China and Russia are officially in the process of acceding, and asks the Commission to encourage and promote third countries in their efforts to join the GPA, as multilateral and plurilateral agreements are the best way to establish a level playing field in the long term; stresses that bilateral trade agreements with ambitious procurement provisions respecting the underlying principles of the GPA can be a stepping stone for enhanced multilateral cooperation;

6. Highlights the importance of the GPA not only for providing de jure access to procurement markets in third countries, but also for enhancing the transparency and predictability of procurement procedures; encourages the Commission to promote the development of global and convergent standards for transparent procurement as an important tool for combating corruption; asks the Commission, more specifically, to strive to include in trade agreements provisions on joint rules for public procurement that enable the reporting of corruption, simplify procedures and strengthen integrity and transparency for bidders.


Date adopted:

Result of final vote:
+: 29
–: 3
0: 4


Members present for the final vote:
William (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Maria Arena, Tiziana Beghin, David Campbell Bannerman, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Nadja Hirsch, Yannick Jadot, France Jamet, Jude Kirton-Darling, Patricia Lalonde, Danilo Oscar Lancini, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Emma McClarkin, Anne-Marie Mineur, Alessia Maria Mosca, Artis Pabriks, Franck Proust, Viviane Reding, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Marietje Schaake, Helmut Scholz, Joachim Schuster, Joachim Starbatty, Adam Szejnfeld, Iuliu Winkler

Substitutes present for the final vote:
Goffredo Maria Bettini, Klaus Buchner, Sajjad Karim, Emmanuel Maurel, Fernando Ruas, Jarosław Wałęsa


Nadja Hirsch, Patricia Lalonde, Marietje Schaake

David Campbell Bannerman, Sajjad Karim, Emma McClarkin, Joachim Starbatty

Tiziana Beghin, William (The Earl of) Dartmouth

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Daniel Caspary, Salvatore Cicu, Santiago Fisas Ayxelà, Christofer Fjellner, Artis Pabriks, Franck Proust, Viviane Reding, Fernando Ruas, Adam Szejnfeld, Jarosław Wałęsa, Iuliu Winkler

Maria Arena, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Jude Kirton-Darling, Bernd Lange, David Martin, Alessia Maria Mosca, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Joachim Schuster


France Jamet, Danilo Oscar Lancini

Helmut Scholz


Anne-Marie Mineur

Emmanuel Maurel

Klaus Buchner, Yannick Jadot

Key to symbols:
+ : in favour
– : against
0 : abstention