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Brussels, 23 October 2008

Public procurement: Commission assesses the use of electronic procurement in Europe

The European Commission is launching an on-line survey to find out more about the actual experience of businesses and public purchasers with electronic public procurement ("e-procurement"). This will provide essential information for an evaluation which is taking place on the effective up-take of e-procurement across the EU. In particular the evaluation will assess how well the objectives of the "Action Plan for the implementation of the legal framework for electronic public procurement", adopted by the Commission in December 2004, have been achieved. Public procurement is a key sector of the EU economy accounting for about 16% of GDP. Modernising and opening up procurement markets across borders – including through the expansion of e-procurement – is crucial to Europe's competitiveness and for creating new opportunities for EU businesses. The deadline for responses is 18 December 2008.

Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "Well organised electronic procurement can improve the business environment, save businesses’ and public purchasers' time and taxpayers’ money. To make this policy work, we need to know the views and experiences of those at the sharp end –public purchasers, businesses tendering for public contracts, the departments in Member States responsible for transposing and implementing EU legislation. I ask all organisations with an interest in public procurement to respond to this survey.

The European Commission has identified electronic public procurement as an area where large gains can be achieved and is actively seeking to promote the use of electronic means. The 2004 Directives provide a legal framework aimed at boosting the development and use of electronic procurement. The Action Plan seeks in particular to help Member States remove obstacles to cross-border electronic public procurement and further increase efficiency. Equally, e-procurement is a key strategic element in the Commission's plans to reduce administrative burden. It is estimated that electronic procurement and invoicing could reduce total procurement costs by around 5% and more than halve transaction costs, saving governments – and therefore taxpayers – billions of euros annually.

The benefits of eProcurement do not stop at saving money. Traditional procurement systems can be difficult for potential bidders to access, while many may simply be unaware of existing tendering opportunities. Making it easier to obtain information and knowledge will benefit all businesses, but particularly SMEs, which often lack the manpower to monitor the market.

Several Member States have already realised the high potential benefits of e-procurement. However it is clear that there are still barriers to be overcome if e-procurement is to fulfil its potential and hence the Commission invites all interested parties to respond to this survey. The findings will help provide the first systematic overview of e-procurement in the EU and guide future EU action in this field. Different questionnaires have been designed to ask specific questions of businesses, public purchasers and the institutions responsible for public procurement policy. Parties interested in participating in this survey can send an email to:

For general information on EU policy and legislation on public procurement, please visit the Commission’s Europa web site at:


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