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European Commission - Press release

Commission moves to support take-up of

Brussels, 29 July 2011 - E-procurement, the use of electronic communications and transaction processing by governments and other public sector organisations when buying supplies and services or tendering public works, can deliver significant savings to European taxpayers. The European Commission is therefore announcing a series of measures to boost the take-up of e-procurement in the EU.

Firstly, the Commission is issuing a call for applications for participation in a new, informal expert group on e-tendering. Secondly, it is starting to monitor the use of e-procurement across Member States, in order to promote best practices. Thirdly, it is publishing the responses to the e-procurement Green Paper (IP/10/1347) which reveal considerable support for making the use of e-procurement compulsory in the EU.

The aim of these measures is to help Member States to accelerate the switchover to e-procurement, and to enable suppliers to take part in online procurement procedures across the single market.

E-procurement implies more than just changing from paper-based procurement systems to ones using electronic communications. It has the potential to streamline and accelerate public purchasing, benefiting both purchasers and suppliers – and the European taxpayer along the way. It will lead to more efficient procurement administration, resulting in cost and time savings.

Commissioner Barnier said: "E-procurement is the future of public procurement. It delivers better procurement outcomes, reduces waste and error, and helps public purchasers to manage complex transactions. In 5-10 years time, most public procurement administration will be electronic. We have to start preparing for that change now. At EU level, we have to ensure that the legal and policy environment supports the switchover. The ground-work that I am launching today is another important step towards harnessing the power of new technology for better procurement"


Budgetary constraints mean that efficient public purchasing is moving up the policy agenda in all Member States. Reforms to existing rules to create more flexible and user-friendly tools, reduce costs and the duration of contracting procedures will ensure the efficient use of public money. That is why reform of public procurement legislation is one of the 12 priority actions articulated in the Single Market Act (IP/11/469), adopted in April 2011. Open and competitive public procurement has driven down costs by around 4%, generating savings of approximately €20 billion.

Public purchasers across the EU are replacing paper-based administrative procedures by electronic tools and processes. Full conversion to e-procurement can save between €50 and €70 billion per year according to recent Deutsche Bank research. The forthcoming revision of EU public procurement rules will seek to integrate the potential of e-procurement. The work being launched today will help to identify technical and practical solutions which can help to give full expression to the new legislative provisions when they take effect.

The actions launched today include:

  • Creation of an informal expert group on e-tendering: The expert group will bring together leading experts in the design and implementation of e-procurement systems and policy strategies. By the end of 2012, the group will develop a blue-print for common solutions for electronic submission of offers. The Commission invites qualified experts to apply for membership of the group (deadline for application is 30.09.11).

  • Launch of work-stream on e-procurement monitoring and benchmarking: The Commission has published in the Official Journal a call for tenders for a study to develop relevant indicators for monitoring the development of e-procurement. The current lack of information on e-procurement development hampers e-procurement take-up. The results of this study will help policy-makers at EU and national level to monitor e-procurement and thus, to support the switchover. A second objective is to address the lack of information on good e-procurement practice by developing a case-book of best practices on the most active/successful e-procurement solutions in Europe. 'Best practice' findings will be used to promote convergence and take-up of proven solutions by Member States and regions investing in e-procurement infrastructure – rather than reinvent the wheel or invest in unproductive solutions. The deadline for submission of tenders is 30.09.11.

  • In addition, the Commission has also published a detailed summary of responses to the Green Paper on expanding the use of e-procurement. The analysis of the 77 responses received to the Green Paper provides much detailed insight which will inform further work in the area of e-procurement. There is broad support for EU level action, including the use of legislation, to facilitate the use of standardised e-procurement solutions. A small majority of respondents support the imposition of EU level requirements to use e-procurement.

More information

Expert Group: Terms of Reference and call for applications:

Terms of Reference for the e-procurement monitoring and benchmarking study (notice 2011/S 142-235043 of 27/07/2011):

Summary of the Green Paper responses:

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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