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European Commission - Press release

Public procurement: Commission requests The Netherlands to open up used paper processing and transport contracts

Brussels, 29 September 2011 - The European Commission has requested The Netherlands to respect EU rules on public procurement when awarding contracts for processing and transporting of used paper. This would ensure that used paper processing and transport companies throughout the EU have an opportunity to seek this business and that Dutch taxpayers would have the opportunity to get better value for money.

The Commission considers that The Netherlands has failed to fulfil its obligations by allowing the two contracting authorities concerned (Coöperatieve Vereniging VAOP u.a., and Vaop Oud Papier B.V.) to directly awarding public contracts to economic operators, worth more than €15 million per year, without following open and competitive pan-EU tendering procedures.

The Commission's request to The Netherlands takes the form of a reasoned opinion, the second stage of the infringement procedure. If The Netherlands fails to notify the Commission of measures taken to ensure compliance with EU procurement rules within two months, the Commission may refer this matter to the Court of Justice.

What is the aim of EU public procurement rules?

Public procurement is when public authorities spend public money to construct infrastructure and to purchase all sorts of goods and services, from computer systems, waste water treatment systems and shipbuilding to consultancy. It is estimated that all the public contracts awarded in the EU represent, together, some 17 % of GDP. The open and transparent evaluation procedures laid down by the EU rules on public procurement promote competition, offer better protection against corruption and enable taxpayers to benefit from more effective and better value goods and services.

More information

Public procurement:

Latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States:

For more information on infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/646

Contacts :

Chantal Hughes (+32 2 296 44 50)

Catherine Bunyan (+32 2 299 65 12)

Carmel Dunne (+32 2 299 88 94)

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