Trade MEPs back deal on new tool to open public procurement markets worldwide 

Press Releases 
  • Aim is to help open up non-EU public procurement markets to EU firms  
  • Uniform application across member states 
  • Bidders from least developed countries will not be subject to restrictions 

The EU will get more leverage to push for opening global public procurement markets, after trade MEPs endorsed an agreement with the member states.

The international procurement instrument (IPI) will introduce measures limiting the access to open EU public procurement tenders to companies from non-EU countries that do not offer similar access to EU companies. The primary goal of the legislation is to end discrimination against EU companies and encourage the opening up of third country public procurement markets.

Parliament negotiators and their counterparts representing the member states agreed on specifics of the new tool informally in March. At today's meeting the Trade Committee backed that provisional agreement unanimously, by 42 votes for, without abstentions.

The IPI tool will empower the Commission to determine whether and to what extent companies from a third country must be subject to an IPI measure. The severity of the IPI measure will depend on the extent of the trade barriers the third country puts in the way of EU companies competing on its market.

Parliament negotiators widened the scope of, and tweaked the design of the instrument, and, to ensure uniform application, they curbed member states’ discretionary powers. In addition, they exempted bidders from the least developed countries from the effect of the new tool. For details, read here.


“With today's vote, the international trade committee formally paves the way for the international procurement instrument. Parliament will officially close its first reading in the June part-session in Strasbourg. The positive signals sent from Council are good sign for European businesses: the instrument stands a good chance of entering into effect by the end of the summer recess," said Rapporteur Daniel Caspary (EPP, DE), who has been in charge of the file since the original proposal was tabled in 2012.

Next steps

The provisional agreement approved by the Trade Committee will be tabled for a final vote in plenary in June. Before entering into force, Council will also have to formally approve the agreement.


The EU has opened its public procurement markets to a significant degree to competitors from third countries and has been advocating for the end of protectionist measures on international public procurement markets. Major EU trading partners have different degrees of restrictions curbing EU companies’ access to their public procurement markets.

Parliament has been working on the new trade defence instrument since the Commission original proposal in 2012, modified in 2016. Member states reached an agreement on the topic in June 2021, which allowed the legislative process to continue with Parliament updating its position and an agreement between the institutions on the final shape of the tool.