Greece to ensure fair access to public contracts

Monday October 31st, 2011

The European Commission has requested that Greece ensure full compliance with EU rules on public procurement as regards the purchase of an information system for the Social Security Foundation (IKA).

In 2009, IKA launched an open public tender for the provision of services for operating an information system, valued at almost €7.5m. The call for tenders stipulated that bidders must present project references for successfully implemented contracts in Greece which had the same profile as the one for the IKA.

Contracting authorities are not allowed to impose conditions causing direct or indirect discrimination against potential bidders established or active in other Member States, according to the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The call for tenders also insisted that bidders could not invoke the experience of their potential sub-contractors in order to cover all the selection criteria of the call for tenders. However, the relevant EU rules allow this possibility.

Due to the above restrictions, other IT service companies that had provided similar services in other Member States were unlawfully excluded from participating in the tendering procedure in question. Therefore Greek taxpayers were denied the opportunity to possibly get better value for money by awarding the contracts to companies prepared to offer better services for less money.

The request to Greece takes the form of a reasoned opinion. If Greece does not reply satisfactorily within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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