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Commission closes infringement procedure against France

Monday January 18th, 2010

The European Commission has decided to terminate an infringement procedure initiated against France. The case related to a provision of Law No 93-122 of 29 January 1993 (known as the ‘Sapin Law’) which allowed public entities to award concession contracts to public bodies without prior publicity or competitive tendering.

In this case, these specific concession contracts (referred to as conventions de délégation de service public – public service delegation agreements – in French law), relate to a wide range of areas of activity, including water and electricity distribution and management of public amenities.

The process known as ‘in-house providing’ (contrats de quasi régie) allows contracts to be awarded to a body without prior publicity, on the condition that a number of requirements are satisfied under public procurement law. 

As part of this procedure, the Commission had sent a letter of formal notice to the French authorities, with the French authorities acknowledging the need to clarify the legislation in question.

This was achieved with the adoption of Order No 2009-864 of 15 July 2009. The order’s specification outlined that, in this case, the aforementioned exemption applies. The Commission has therefore decided to close the case against France.

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