The Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Union sets out the principles for implementing the budget, including the principle of transparency, which is affirmed throughout the Financial Regulation and its implementing rules. Provision is made for appropriate ex ante and/or ex post publication of the implementation of the budget.
Under Articles 118 and 119 of the rules for the implementation of the Financial Regulation, Parliament is obliged to publish annually certain information on the award of contracts, either in the Official Journal or on its website as appropriate. A contract is said to have been awarded when a legal undertaking is first given, i.e. when the first contract (including a framework contract) has been signed.
Under Article 118, provisions concerning ex post advertising of contracts coming under Directive 2004/18/EC state that an award notice must be sent to the Publications Office of the European Union no later than 48 calendar days after the conclusion of the procedure, i.e. with effect from when the contract or framework contract is signed.
The award notice is also sent to the Publications Office in respect of a contract or framework contract with a value equal to or greater than the thresholds laid down in Article 158 and awarded following a negotiated procedure without prior publication of a contract notice. The time limit for sending the notice must be long enough to ensure that publication takes place before the contract or framework contract is signed, in accordance with the terms and procedures laid down in Article 158a(1).
Furthermore, information relating to the value and contractors of specific contracts based on a framework contract during a given financial year is published on the website of the contracting authority no later than 31 March following the end of that financial year. This provision applies only to contracts launched after 1 May 2007. Publication will take place if, as a result of the conclusion of a specific contract or of the aggregate volume of the specific contracts, the thresholds referred to in Article 158 are exceeded.
The thresholds referred to in Article 158 were as follows as at 31 December 2011:
It is stated in Article 119, with regard to ex post advertising of contracts not covered by Directive 2004/18/EC and of contracts referred to in its Annex IIB, that contracts ‘shall be advertised by appropriate means’. The advertising includes ‘the annual publication of a list of contractors, specifying the subject and the value of the contract awarded, for contracts with a value greater than € 25 000’.
The arrangements regarding publication are as follows: