European stakeholders gather to discuss public procurement

20th of December 2023
European stakeholders gather to discuss public procurement

TheEU social partner organisations of the industrial cleaning, private security and contract catering sectors gathered in Brussels recently to discuss the current state of EU public procurement provisions, their impact on the respective sectors and possibilities for improvement for the future.

These three sectors share significant common features - providing fundamental services to people and companies that are fundamental to their safety, wellbeing and health, on a very labour-intensive model - and are all very dependent on public clients.

The event was opened by MEP Marie-Pierre Vedrenne (Renew Europe), member of the International Trade and Employment Committees in the European Parliament, who pointed out the role of public procurement as a driver for sustainable growth, inspired by the same principles that are at the basis of our European social and economic models, and its strategic importance in the context of the international positioning of the European Union.

In this context, she continued, the procurement of labour-intensive services brings the same strategic dimension as the purchase of goods or the construction of works, while contributing further to a more equitable and prosperous society. And for this reason, she underlined the need to quickly address the main challenges associated to the implementation of the directive, including the excessive reliance of public tenders on the lowest price as the main awarding criteria in public tenders, and the lack of monitoring mechanisms from contracting authorities.

EFCI president Lorenzo Mattioli highlighted the fundamental role played by the cleaning industry in navigating societies out of the pandemic. He pointed out that the "lowest-price criterion is the main obstacle for companies to continue providing the highest standards in service and working conditions".

There were also two panel discussions, discussing how the current provisions of the directive have fallen short to ensure that quality is preferred over price, and how the directive could change in the future to make it more effective.

All speakers agreed on the main drivers for an effective and solid reorientation of the EU public procurement system: investing in the professionalisation of contracting agencies and operators at all levels; stressing the role of social dialogue and social partners and safeguarding their autonomy in the context of collective bargaining; and the introduction of mechanisms for price increase of existing contracts to allow the recovery of costs increases, also on the basis of sector-elaborated indexes.

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Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited