Increasing Integrity and EU Citizen's Trust in Public Procurement

2654 Words Feb 18th, 2013 11 Pages
Public procurement systems across the European Union (EU) need to be robust, transparent and open to public monitoring. Only then can governments, bidders and contractors be held to account for how public money is spent, and corruption can be prevented. Corruption siphons off public funds, obstructs the functioning of the single market, and distorts fair competition. For these reasons, it is vital for the EU to ensure public procurements are sound, transparent and accountable. Public procurement at the EU-level is currently being reviewed; the inclusion of strong anti-corruption provisions is a way of increasing efficiency and creating the
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Problems appear to be most acute in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and Slovakia. 8 The current revision of the EU legislation on public procurement 9 presents an opportunity for European leaders to address these breakdowns and close the following integrity gaps. WEAK LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORKS Legislative loopholes – as in the case of Romania – allow for the bypassing of procurement rules and raise the risk of corruption. For example, the Romanian government has the right to invoke a state of emergency, which allows it to negotiate contracts with only one single company. Allegations in other countries have also been raised about preference being given to a single vendor by micro-tailoring the tender criteria to match only that company’s profile. 10 Similar problems of legal gaps exist in the Czech Republic that has permitted corruption to arise in public procurement. According to a survey of small and medium-sized Czech companies, three out of five managers believe that it is impossible to win public contracts without resorting to bribery, a kickback or some other “incentive”. 11 The procurement loopholes that exist in Europe vary and lead to low levels of transparency and accountability, including limited access to information and public participation in the processes. Final public procurement contracts are not published in a number of European countries,
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