Companies from the Netherlands and other EU countries that want to carry out public contracts outside the European Union must have better access to those tenders. That is the aim of the International Procurement Instrument that comes into force today. The instrument aims to ensure that EU entrepreneurs have the same chance of winning a contract as non-EU companies, thus creating a level playing field.
If the European Commission suspects that countries outside the EU (third countries) impose restrictions on EU companies in procurement, the Commission can investigate this. The Commission will then enter into discussions with the country concerned in order to remove the obstacles.
If this does not lead to a solution, the EU can take measures to persuade the third country to do so. The Commission will then make it more difficult for companies from that country to win a government tender in the EU. The International Procurement Instrument (IPI) ensures that contracting authorities (such as provinces, water boards and the central government) impose a fictitious score surcharge on tenders from the third country. If a company from that country participates in a government tender in the EU, the price for which the company offers the service or product is increased. This makes the offer from this company more unattractive than the tenders from EU companies that want to carry out the same contract.
If the tender is awarded for quality, the score surcharge may not exceed 50 percent. If the prize is awarded only, the fictitious surcharge is doubled. In certain cases, the EU may also decide to exclude third country companies from tenders. Contracting authorities must apply a measure if tenders exceed certain contract values. For works and concessions, the obligation applies from € 15 million. In tenders for goods and services from € 5 million.
In the coming period, a technical amendment to the Procurement Act will make it compulsory for contracting authorities to apply the instrument. The government is also working on information material so that contracting authorities and entrepreneurs know exactly what is expected of them.