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Brussels, 28 January 2011

Buying social: a Guide to taking account of social considerations in public procurement

The new Guide is a very concrete tool to help public authorities to buy goods and services in a socially responsible way in line with EU rules. It also highlights the contribution public procurement can make to stimulate greater social inclusion.

Public procurement represents 17% of the GDP of EU Member States. While preserving competition and transparency, it may be used in a way to steer the market in a more socially responsible direction and thus contribute more generally to sustainable development.

The Guide explains the wide range of possibilities offered by the existing EU public procurement rules to take social aspects on board in the various stages of the procurement process. Those clarifications will allow public purchasers to integrate with greater confidence social considerations in public procurement, while ensuring equal access to all European interested bidders and guaranteeing an efficient use of public money. The exercise is in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy and the EU goals for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The document is illustrated by a number of practical examples covering a broad range of social issues, such as promoting equal chances and employment opportunities, improving labour conditions, social inclusion of vulnerable persons, such as disabled persons, compliance in substance with the provisions of the fundamental ILO conventions, etc.

Public authorities in the Member States, social partners, NGOs and other interested stakeholders have provided useful input to draw up this practical guide.

The Commission also published today another guide (IP/11/106) to help public authorities, especially at local level, to provide high quality and efficient services in line with the EU rules.

Further information

Guide to the application of the European Union rules on State aid, public procurement and the internal market to services of general economic interest, and in particular to social services of general :

Buying Social: a guide on taking account of social considerations in public procurement

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