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Building trust in public procurement - Totis Kotsonis speaks at EU procurement conference

  • Europe

    20-06-2018

    ​Competition lawyer and Partner Totis Kotsonis joined a panel of speakers at the ‘Improving Access To Public Procurement’ conference, held in Sofia, Bulgaria last week.

    The conference was attended by more than 150 delegates from across the EU, including competition authorities and review bodies.

    The event was organised by the Presidency of the EU, currently held by Bulgaria, and the European Commission. It was introduced by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Juliane Kokott, Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the EU, and Tomislav Donchev, Deputy Prime Minster of Bulgaria.

    Each year, public authorities across the European Union tender out contracts for products and services worth 14% of EU GDP. The conference discussed two key issues in the context of opening up further EU public procurement markets: how to prevent bidder collusion in public procurement and how to render (national) remedy systems for public procurement law breaches more effective.

    In his contribution, Totis told delegates that the updating of the procurement remedies regime in 2009 had improved access to effective remedies by affected parties and bolstered the remedies regime’s dissuasive role against procurement law breaches.

    However, whilst there was no immediate need for substantive changes to the remedies legislation, the European Commission could assist Member States to ensure more effective implementation of the existing rules by clarifying certain aspects of the remedies legislation. Totis also told delegates that he believes that the Commission could incentivise Member States to improve further national review procedures, by encouraging greater exchange of information between them.

    In terms of preventing bid-rigging and other types of collusive behaviour, Totis considered that competition law remedies, whilst important, dealt with anti-competitive behaviour after the event. In seeking to prevent bid-rigging and other types of collusive behaviour, it was also important for the EU to consider the introduction of a number of additional measures in the context of carrying out public procurement procedures.

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