Interview: ‘Revised procurement rules essential for EU’

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) can help member states raise the funds they need to implement essential EU policies. But flawed and opaque public procurement rules are hindering their development, says PPP expert.

EU public procurement rules – which also govern the establishment of PPPs – aim to encourage more open and competitive bidding in the vast market to supply governments and other state authorities with goods and services. 

Increased competition should lower prices and ensure higher efficiency but, because the regulatory framework fails to provide clear rules for PPPs, both public authorities and private investors are reticent. 

According to Michael Burnett, PPP expert and senior lecturer at the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), this failure must be urgently addressed, because cash-strapped member states, attempting to meet strict EU fiscal requirements, desperately need private-sector investments in order to carry out the large-scale infrastructure projects planned by the EU and to succeed in boosting Europe’s competitiveness through innovation and research. 

“This is all about European policies – the costs needed to complete some of the projects are huge – the trans-European networks for transport: €600 billion before 2020, the water framework directive: €300 billion. Now, the old member states haven’t got that sort of money, let alone the new ones, and it’s not going to come from structural funds. So, that means huge private sector investment is needed,” he told EURACTIV. 

Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has announced that, based on the results of an impact assessment due in the first half of 2007, he will decide whether to propose new legislation. 

Click here to read the full interview.

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