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Verbatim report of proceedings
Tuesday, 19 June 2007 - Strasbourg OJ edition

The transposition and implementation of public procurement legislation (debate)

  Heide Rühle, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – (DE) Mr President, I, too, should like to thank Mrs McCarthy for this excellent report. I, too, believe that there is a pressing need for us to ensure that the Directives are transposed in practice. If legislation is deficient, legal uncertainty and distortions of competition can result. This is something we should prevent.

Unfortunately, this report reveals that, to date, only 20 of the 27 Member States have transposed the new Directives – despite the fact that the deadline passed on 31 January 2006. The reasons most frequently quoted for unsatisfactory transposition are the lack of legal expertise, human resources and political will in the Member States. These are what we must address, therefore, and I think that the proposals Mrs McCarthy makes are excellent. The committee suggests a Commission action plan to encourage Member States to tackle existing and emerging transposition and implementation problems in public procurement.

In my opinion, it is also important, however, that the committee has reaffirmed that there is best practice in certain fields that should be exchanged. Member States should actively exchange knowledge and best practice with each other on transposition in the field of public procurement and improve cooperation with the Commission in this area. The committee strongly encourages Member States to coordinate and simplify electronic purchasing techniques and to facilitate access to such procurements. It welcomes the Commission’s handbook on the application of environmental criteria and calls for the publication of guidelines on the application of social criteria. That, too, would help prevent legal uncertainty.

There is a further field that must be mentioned when it comes to legal uncertainty, and that is the unresolved problem of public cooperation – known as ‘inter-municipal cooperation’ in Germany. Under this, local authorities – and it is really only local authorities – jointly provide facilities such as kindergartens, water supply, waste-water disposal and waste. They engage in this joint cooperation as a means of controlling the population decline in rural areas.

I am now of the opinion that this kind of inter-municipal cooperation has no place in public procurement, and I would expect some clarification from the Commission in this regard once and for all. Hence, the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance will be withdrawing Amendment 12 and not putting it to the vote tomorrow.

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