Today the Commission is publishing guidelines to help public officials across the EU identify and avoid the most frequent errors in public procurement of projects co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds. In line with the initiative for an "EU budget focused on results", the Commission is acting to ensure that tax payers' money is spent efficiently and transparently. Nearly half of the European Structural and Investment Funds allocations are channelled into the real economy through public procurement.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "One of my priorities is to help Member States improve the way they manage and invest EU funds and these guidelines are a precious tool to this end. I believe that making less mistakes in public procurement will both ensure that EU investments deliver quicker on our jobs and growth objectives and that the EU Budget is safeguarded."
Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "A large part of the EU's regional funding is channelled through public procurement. Transparent tendering of public contracts is essential to ensure the best value for public money. Today we are providing new guidance to ensure the rules and possibilities are well understood and applied, thereby allowing EU funding programmes to unroll in a timely manner to support cohesion and growth."
Most common errors in public procurement result from insufficient administrative capacity. This is why the Commission's action in enhancing administrative capacity and improving management and control systems is crucial to comprehensively tackle the issue.
Commissioners Creţu and Bieńkowska will meet on 1 December to discuss this matter. It will be the first of a series of meetings between the two Commissioners who will assess the progress in the efforts to address problems with public procurement in EU cohesion expenditure.
The "Public Procurement Guidance for practitioners on the avoidance of the most common errors in projects funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds" contains examples of good practices, case studies and useful links to help those who are involved in in the planning, selection and implementation of EU-supported projects.
It is part of the Commission's comprehensive action plan on public procurement, aiming to help Member States improve the performance of both administrations and beneficiaries in applying public procurement for EU investments during the 2014-2020 programming period.
These guidelines are also part of a broader initiative to improve how Member States and regions invest and manage Cohesion Policy funds, alongside the development of Peer 2 Peer, a platform for public officials across the EU to exchange expertise and best practice in administrative capacity-building, and Integrity Pacts, a tool to improve transparency and accountability in public procurement