The European Commission (EC) intends to revamp the rules and guidelines governing public sector procurement in the EU.
It has launched a consultation on proposals to reform procurement laws in order to make transparent and competitive contract awards as easy as possible for European public authorities and their suppliers.
Public procurement accounts for roughly 17 per cent of the EU's GDP and EU rules govern the way that all public contracts above a certain amount are conducted.
The EC hopes the consultation will ensure fair competition, transparency and equality of access to public contracts.
The EC insists that SMEs in particular, which are estimated to secure between 31 and 38 per cent of total contract value of public procurement, need better and easier access to public contracts throughout the EU, in order to ensure a truly level playing field in the market.
"We need to clarify public procurement rules to make life easier for both public authorities and companies bidding for contracts in Europe," said Commissioner Michel Barnier.
"Enabling smaller companies to gain easier access to procurement markets, reducing red tape, or promoting European cross-border procurement will be under the spotlight during the consultation. My ambition is to make sure that public procurement can help job creation, innovation, and protection of the environment," he added.
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