EU rules on awarding concession contracts - Q and A 

High-value, complex and long-term public projects will face new EU rules ©BELGA/EASYPHOTOSTOCK/Zonnar/mrtwister  

On 15 January 2014 MEPs will vote on draft rules setting out minimum EU requirements for the award by public authorities of "concession" contracts to procure works or services from private suppliers. These contracts are typically high-value, complex and long-term. These Q&A deal with certain aspects of the draft text which was negotiated with the Council in June 2013 and confirmed by EP Internal Market Committee on 5 September.

The proposed "concessions" directive is part of a package of four legislative proposals on public procurement tabled by the European Commission in 2011: three directives ("classic", "utilities" and "concessions") and one regulation ("third market access" or "reciprocity").

The public procurement package is in turn part of the "Single Market Act I", package of proposed measures in twelve areas, designed to unlock the single market's potential.

As public authorities spend 18% of GDP on goods, works and services, it is important to ensure that public tendering rules are straightforward but flexible enough to enable public authorities and their suppliers to conclude transparent, competitively-priced contracts so as to secure the best value for money.

The proposed concessions directive aims to guarantee effective access to the concessions market for all EU firms, including small and medium-sized enterprises, by establishing at EU level a clear legal framework governing the operation of public-private partnerships..