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European Union government procurement guide for Canadian business
Help your Canadian company bid successfully for contracts with public and regulated entities in the European Union.
This is the second edition of the European Union (EU) Government Procurement Guide (GPG) for Canadian Business. As new EU regulations come into effect and relevant changes to the European procurement environment are enforced, this guide will likely be revised.
- Purpose of this guide and useful contacts
- Procurement: An abbreviated summary
- Chapter 1 - Overview of the EU procurement market
- Background on the public procurement market
- Size of the market and sectors
- How EU directives work regulated sectors
- EU thresholds
- Chapter 2 - CETA government procurement commitments
- Market access changes for the EU
- Market access changes for Canada
- Excluded sectors
- Chapter 3 - Identifying contract opportunities
- Using Tenders Electronic Daily (TED)
- Understanding contract notices
- Other types of notices
- Chapter 4 - Understanding EU procurement procedures
- Procurement procedures
- Critical stages common in all procedures
- Chapter 5 - Framework agreements
- Advertisement of a framework agreement
- Issues to consider
- Chapter 6 - Procurement by EU institutions
- Regulatory framework
- Common procedures
- Chapter 7 - Practical considerations for bidders
- Market research
- Submitting a bid
- Further considerations
- Chapter 8 - Bid protests, complaints and remedies
- What happens when things go wrong?
- Pre-contractual remedies
- Post-contractual remedies
- Time limits
- Complaint to the European Commission
- Bid protests in European institutions contracts
- CETA and the involvement of the government of Canada
- Chapter 9 - Background to the European Union green and sustainable procurement
- Green and sustainable procurement
- Annex 1: Common Q&As
- Annex 2: Setting up a TED account
- Annex 3: Setting up an automatic email alert
Purpose of this guide
The Government of Canada developed this European Union (EU) Government Procurement Guide to help Canadian companies bid successfully for contracts by public and regulated entities in the EU. It is drafted in order to ensure that Canadian suppliers, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can access accurate information about government-procurement procedures and learn good practices for tendering and winning contracts in the EU market.
It is also designed to complement Exporting to the EU, A Guide for Canadian Business, which is primarily aimed at exporters.
The guide provides an overview of the EU government procurement market, how it is structured, how it is regulated and the improved market access CETA offers to Canadian companies. Following a short presentation of the EU government procurement market, it will take the reader step by step through the bidding process.
It touches on the use of online tools for EU government procurement; how to complete a bid; procurement procedures; threshold levels; exclusion, selection and award criteria; framework agreements and options for legal recourse in the event of potential unfair treatment. It also includes a chapter on procurement by EU institutions and the last part also includes common Q&A based on the experience of other Canadian companies on the EU market, see Annex 1: Common Q&As.
We want to hear from you!
Any specific questions or issues you may be facing with an EU-level regulation or legislation can be reported to the appropriate point of contact at the Mission of Canada to the European Union.
Please note that this Guide only includes limited details about the legislation of each of the EU’s 28 Member States, which may also govern procurement procedures on their respective territories. Any questions with respect to country-specific legislation, opportunities or potential barriers can be addressed to the Trade Commissioner Service in one of our 24 offices in the EU, who will be able to assist you.
Finally, it is also possible to register any trade barrier you may be observing in a given market on the Global Affairs Canada website.
The Guide aims to:
- Increase awareness of government-procurement laws, regulations and procedures applicable in the EU;
- Foster compliance with EU requirements; and
- Promote the effective and consistent use of information sources and EU-tendering practices across Canada.
The information about EU legislation mentioned in this Guide is publicly available on various EU websites and was current at the time of publication. For updated information, please consult the Europa Website or SIMAP.
The information contained in this Guide is intended solely to provide general guidance to readers who accept full responsibility for its use. The information is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering professional legal advice or services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for professional consultation.
While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this Guide comes from reliable sources, the Government of Canada is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.
All information in this Guide is provided as-is with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance. Nothing herein shall to any extent substitute for the independent investigations and the sound technical and business judgment of the reader. Laws and regulations change continually, and can be interpreted only in light of particular factual situations.
Small and medium enterprises (SME)
EU rules make it easier for SMEs to access public procurement opportunities. This Guide features helpful information for SME bidders. More information is available on the European Commission DG Growth webpage and on Enterprise Europe Network.
Certain links in this Guide connect to other websites maintained by third parties that may or may not be presented within a frame in this Guide. The Government of Canada has not verified the contents of such third-party sites and does not endorse, warrant, promote or recommend any services or products that may be provided or accessed through them or any person or body which may provide them. The Government of Canada has not issued or caused to be issued any advertisements which may appear on these websites.
Procurement: An abbreviated summary
The way government procurement (known as ‘public procurement’ in EU terminology) works is that a public entity issues a contract notice, also known as ‘OJEU notice’ or ‘a call for competition’. The contract notice entails information about a contract for which bids are sought from private sector companies.
The contract could be for any task: supplying chairs for a courtroom in lower Bavaria, supplying signaling boxes for Stockholm’s tram system, the construction of a road in the Highlands of Scotland, maintaining an IT system for the Romanian police force, etc. The list is seemingly endless.
Each contract notice contains important information: the technical specifications, the timing, the location, the contracting entity issuing the contract, etc. It also describes who can bid for the contract, how to bid for it and by which date. It indicates the selection and award criteria and additional conditions for participation. It is therefore important to read this carefully.
Each bidder then prepares their best response and sends it to the contracting entity by the means outlined in the contract notice, usually electronically. Once all bids are received, the contracting authority will select the winner by following the rules listed in the contract notice.
The contracting authority must follow the rules to avoid any perception of inappropriate or discriminatory practices.
Once a contract is awarded, the contracting authority and the successful bidder establish a relationship and the work can begin.
The strict procedural rules also apply to bidders. If a bidder mistakenly lists a price in the wrong part of their bid, for instance, or fails to conform to the process as outlined, the contracting authority may disqualify the entire bid.
Government procurement, also called ‘public procurement’ in the EU, refers to the process of governments and public bodies buying goods and services. It is highly regulated to ensure equality of treatment to EU based companies, prevent bias and foster the efficient use of public resources.
To avoid minor mistakes, bidders should read and fully understand the instructions outlined in the contract notice and procurement documents and follow this Guide.
Table of contents
Chapter 1: Overview of the EU procurement market
Background on the public procurement market
A government-procurement contract (in EU terminology – a ‘public procurement contract’) is signed by a ‘contracting authority’ with a third party for the provision of goods, services or works, via a tendering process. The EU definition of a contracting authority is very wide and includes the EU institutions (e.g., the EU Commission), as well as organs of the 28 countries (called Member States), their regional or local authorities and bodies governed by public lawFootnote 1.
In order to create a level playing field for European companies to win business with the public sector across the different Member States in Europe, the EU regulator adopted a set of rules and procedures that require the harmonization of national legislation in the EU Member States and prescribe the way contracting authorities in the various Member States must purchase goods, works and services above a certain threshold (see EU Thresholds). These rules and procedures are based on the principles of equal treatment, transparency and competition as well as other EU Treaty provision and principles which aim at ensuring equal access to contractsFootnote 2.
Size of the market and sectors
Facts and numbers
The EU government procurement market is a sizeable component of the overall EU economy. There are over 250 000 contracting authorities in the EU, ranging from city councils to regional authorities, regional governments (e.g. the German Länder), utilities, state owned companies, national governments and the European institutions. Together they spend more than €1.3 trillion per year on the purchase of services, works and supplies (around 16% of GDP) Footnote 3. In many sectors, such as energy, transport, waste management, social protection and the provision of health or education services, public authorities are the principal buyers.
GP Breakdown by Sector
Approximately 39% of contracts on TED were for works, 35% for services and 25% on goods.
The estimated value of tenders above the thresholds and published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), also known as Tender Electronic Daily (TED), amounts to €450 billionFootnote 4. The number of contract notices published in TED every year is around 170 000.
Scope and coverage
The government procurement Directives (see How EU Directives Work) differentiate between the purchase of goods, services and works whereby, in terms of value, approximately 39% of the contract opportunities published on TED are for works, 35% are for services and 25% are for the purchase of goods.
The government procurement Directives also differentiate between procurement by the public sector, procurement by utilities (i.e. entities operating in the energy, water, transport and postal services sectors), defence procurement and concessions contracts. This distinction is further explained below.
In all cases, the Directives apply to contracts valued above certain thresholds, for the purchase of goods, services or works by a contracting authority.
There are however many exemptions from the scope of the government procurement Directives, and if a specific contract or a specific entity falls within this exemption, they are not obliged to publish a contract notice in TED and instead, they may award the contract directly or with limited or local publication. The most common exemptions include contracts below the threshold values or situations in which for technical or artistic reasons, or for reasons connected with the protection of exclusive rights, the contract may only be awarded to a particular company (a ‘sole source’ situation).There are also exemptions for specific activities in the utilities sector for some geographical areas, in which case, contracts awarded by a utility operating in this sector and in that specific geographical area, will be exempt from following the Directives.
How EU directives work
A “Directive” is a legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU Member States must achieve and it must be transposed into national legislation to take effect. Within two years of adoption by the EU, Member States must transpose a Directive into national law (see European Union Law). It is important to note that the national law of each Member State has the legal force and not the EU Directive, although any interpretation of the national law must be done in light of the Directive.
The Directive has to be transposed “purposively”—i.e. the national law must serve the underlying purpose of the original Directive. For example, the national law must serve the Directive’s purpose of opening up government procurement markets to bidders from across the EU.
Directives specify the ultimate goal of national laws, but not exactly how to achieve it. Transposing Directives into national legislation can be difficult, since national legal systems differ and Member States do not always interpret Directives the same way. This can lead to slight differences between EU Member States.
The EU Directives that govern procurement are based on the principles of equal treatment, transparency and competition as well as other EU Treaty provision and principles which aim at ensuring equal access to contractsFootnote 5. The Directives on government procurement are very detailed and, unless a specific exemption applies, they cover procurement contracts in the EU above the stated threshold values (see EU Thresholds) and dictate specific rules about everything from common procedures and thresholds, to remedy mechanisms and standards. All contracting authorities in the EU must obey these rules.
In 2014, the EU passed a new revision of Directives that entered in to force in April 2016 and regulate government procurement by: the public sector (Directive 2014/24/EU), by Utilities (Directive 2014/25/EU) and for concessions contract (Directive 2014/23/EU).These have been adopted in addition to the already existing Directives in the area of defence procurement (Directive 2009/81/EC) and the remedies Directive (Directive 2007/66/EC amending public sector remedies Directive 89/665/EEC and utilities remedies Directive 92/13/EEC). These are explained further below.
It is worth noting that the EU does not have so-called buy-EU preferences (except when the value of the contract is below the stated thresholds and does not raise so-called ‘cross-border interest’), nor is it permissible to have buy-national clauses at the Member State level that discriminate against other EU Member States.
For additional information related to government procurement in the EU that is not covered in this Guide, please see the relevant European Commission pages.
On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union. Negotiations of a EU-UK withdrawal agreement from the EU are currently on-going. At this time, it is expected that the UK will cease to be a member of the EU on 30 March 2019, however, if a transition period is agreed, the UK would continue to follow all EU law until the end of December 2020. Currently, UK government procurement legislation arises from the EU Directives (implemented into national law by way of the UK Public Contracts Regulations), including EU principles of equal treatment, transparency and non-discrimination. Future UK government procurement legislation will likely be heavily influenced by the nature of any trade agreements the UK and the EU will reach. [The European Commission maintains an updated website with recent developments on the preparations for and negotiations of the Brexit. There is also a section specifically in relation to government procurement.]
At the moment, and for the full period that precedes the BREXIT, Canada’s access to the UK market remains covered under the CETA agreement. Canada’s procurement market coverage in the UK after the BREXIT has yet to be determined as we speak.
As mentioned above, procurement by the public sector is regulated by Directive 2014/24/EU.A contract will be caught within the public-sector procurement Directive if it is for the purchase of works, supplies or services, awarded by a ‘contracting authority’. The contract must be for pecuniary interest, concluded in writing and above the relevant thresholds (see EU Thresholds).
The definition of a ‘contracting authority’ is very wide and includes central and sub-central government authorities such as ministries, regional authorities, city councils as well as other entities owned or financed by the state. It also includes certain entities defined as ‘bodies governed by public law’ which have a separate legal entity that is financed or controlled by another contracting authority and meet certain conditions. Annex 1 of the public-sector Directive includes a non-exhaustive list of all contracting authorities in the EU. Canadian companies should consult Annex 19-1 of the EU’s market access schedule in CETA for a list of all the contracting authorities in the EU that must allow Canadian companies fair access to their procurement contracts opportunities. Refer to the OECD guidance on EU public sector and utilities procurement for further information.
The Utilities Directive applies to contracts awarded by ‘contracting entities’ exercising one or more of the relevant activities in the fields of water, energy, transport and postal services, and awarded for the pursuit of those relevant activities.
‘Contracting entities’ include any ‘contracting authority’ (as defined above under the public sector), as well as ‘public undertakings’ i.e. undertakings over which public authorities may directly or indirectly exercise a dominant influence. Also private sector bodies which operate on the basis of special or exclusive rights are included in the utilities sector procurement.
The utilities Directive will apply to contracts awarded by contracting entities that undertake the following ‘relevant activities’:
- the provision or operation of fixed networks for the provision of services to the public in connection with the production, transport or distribution of drinking water, electricity or gas or heat;
- the supply of drinking water, electricity, gas or heat to such networks;
- sewerage and hydraulic engineering activities by water network operators;
- the exploitation of a geographical area
- for the purpose of exploring for, or extracting, oil, gas, coal or other solid fuels;
- the exploitation of a geographical area for the provision of airport, maritime or inland port facilities; and
- the operation of networks providing transport services to the public by railway, automated systems, tramway, trolley bus, bus or cable.
However, note that some utilities in certain Member States, which are exposed to competitive forces in the market concerned, are exempt from the government procurement rules and they are not obliged to publish their contract opportunities in TED. A list of the exempted utilities activities may be found here. Canadian companies should consult Schedule 19-3 of the EU’s market access schedule in CETA for a list of EU covered Utilities.
Refer to the OECD guidance on EU public sector and utilities procurement for further information.
The Directive on Defence and Security is designed to meet the particular characteristics of the defence sector. It applies to all purchases above established thresholds (see EU Thresholds) for “military or sensitive equipment,” or any parts thereof. This includes military equipment, and equipment adapted for military purposes—defined as equipment which has “distinguished military features” and can be used to carry out military missions. Equipment with a security purpose, such as border protection, and that involves classified information, may be considered sensitive and therefore subject to this Directive. For further guidance, refer to the Directive on the award of contracts in the fields of defence and security.
Defence procurement is regulated under a separate Directive, which has its own thresholds and procedures. It is designed to open intra-EU military procurement.
As CETA contains exclusions for defence, it is possible that Canadian companies may not be eligible to bid for some defence contracts. Canadian companies should consult the relevant schedules of CETA in order to verify whether a specific purchase is covered.
When a contract is mixed—when it falls partly under the Defense and Security Directive and partly under another Directive—the Defense and Security Directive takes precedence.
Exempt from the Directive on Defence and Security are contracts related to intelligence activities and contracts between multiple government bodies. EU Member States can purchase U.S. military equipment through the Foreign Military Sales process because the U.S. government acts as a go-between for the EU states and U.S. defense firms. As such, the Defense and Security Directive does not apply in this instance.
The Directive on Defence and Security enables the contracting authority to use a competitive procedure with negotiation (see Chapter 4) which is designed to give the contracting authority more flexibility, an important consideration in the defence sector. The open procedure does not exist in the Defense and Security Directive.
Noteworthy as well is the fact that the Defence and Security Directive allows for up to 30% of a contract to be completed by subcontractors, a measure designed to support SMEs. To ensure transparency and fair treatment, however, subcontracts to other companies must follow government procurement procedures. The procedures resemble standard EU-procurement procedures, but are relatively simple.
Concession contracts are used by contracting authorities to deliver services or construct infrastructure and are covered by a separate Directive on concessions. Concessions involve a contractual arrangement between the contracting authority and the private sector company (the concession holder) and may take the form of a public-private partnership (PPP). Under a concession the private sector party provides services or carries out works and is remunerated by being permitted to exploit the work or service. The type of payment received by the concession holder also defines a concession contract. If the right to exploit a work or service accounts for some or all of the payment a contractor receives, it is a concession contract. In practice, this means that the government body does not provide all of the payment due to the concession holder. This obviously exposes the concession holder to higher risks and a potential loss. Concessions are not the same as licenses, authorizations, grants, land-lease contracts or rights of way, as these do not concede the use of a pre- existing resource to a private company to be operated for the public benefit (at some risk to the company). Examples of concessions include the running of motorway, port, airport or waste-management services.
Unlike procurement in the public sector, there is no mandatory procedure for concession contracts. The contracting authority is simply obliged to follow general rules to ensure transparency and equal treatment and is free to choose any award criteria that are fair and transparent.
- Definitions of concessions
- Description of the concessions market (no link)
- OECD guidance on the EU concessions market
The EU government procurement rules apply to contracts at or above a certain value. When contracts are at or above the EU contract threshold values, the procedures and advertising obligations set out in the relevant Directive apply. Advertisement must be done in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), also known as Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). Notices may also be advertised on national government procurement portals. National laws regulate contracts valued below these thresholds (although these laws must align with EU-treaty principles).The table below sets out the relevant thresholds set out by the various Directives.
|Contracting Entity||Type of Contract||Value|
|Central Government authorities||Works contracts, subsidized works contracts||€5 548 000|
|All services concerning social and other specific ser-vices listed in Annex XIV||€750 000|
|All subsidized services||€221 000|
|All other service contracts and all design contests||€144 000|
|All supplies contracts involving non-defence authorities||€144 000|
|Supplies contracts involving defence concerning products listed in Annex III||€144 000|
|Supplies contracts involving defence concerning other products||€221 000|
|Sub-central contracting authorities||Works contracts, subsidized works contracts||€5 548 000|
|All services concerning social and other specific services listed in Annex XIV||€750 000|
|All other service contracts, all design contests, subsidized service contracts, all supplies contracts||€211 000|
|Utilities (entities operating in the water, energy, transportation or postal services sectors)||Works contracts||€5 548 000|
|All services concerning social and other specific ser-vices listed in Annex XVII||€1 000 000|
|All other service contracts, all design contests, all supplies contracts||€443 000|
|All public contractors||Concession contracts||€5 548 000|
Table of contents
Chapter 2: CETA government procurement commitments
The government-procurement chapter in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union gives Canadian companies more comprehensive and favorable access to the EU procurement market than those of any other G20 country.
In the sectors that the EU has opened, EU public authorities will be obliged to award the contract to the company (including Canadian companies) that submits the bid scoring highest in the evaluation of specifications and requirements. Provided a bid meets the EU standards, an EU contracting authority may not discriminate against a Canadian company on the basis of nationality.
If a Canadian company has reason to believe it was treated unfairly, it has the legal right to request a review of the process and to submit a claim to the relevant review body (see Chapter 8).
Powers maintained by both parties
The government-procurement chapter of CETA relates only to contracts listed in the market access schedules and above a certain value or thresholds (which are similar to the EU thresholds) – see table below. Competitions for contracts below the stated value are not obliged to consider bids from Canadian companies. The same rule applies to competitions for Canadian government contracts; they are open to EU companies only when the contract value is above a specified threshold.
What CETA means to Canadian companies
CETA gives Canadian companies access to a much larger Government Procurement market –almost the same market access that EU states give each other. It is the best access given to any G20 country.
Canada and the EU have also retained the right to give preference to domestic companies when using grants, loans or fiscal incentives. Public authorities may also favor local companies when contracts fall below the threshold values outlined in CETA or are in excluded sectors (see the consolidated CETA text and the CETA Comparison Table below for additional information).
Under CETA, Canada and the EU can exclude from the agreement contracts within specific sectors, such as those involving national security; maintaining order and safety; human, animal and plant health; intellectual property; persons with disabilities; philanthropic institutions; prison labor; and Aboriginal businesses.
Canada and the EU can also specify technical requirements such as experience, and social and environmental criteria (see Chapter 9: Background to the European Union).
Market access changes for the EU
Under CETA, Canada opens government-procurement markets to EU companies at the sub-federal level (provinces, territories and municipalities), going beyond the commitments made in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The procurement chapter of CETA eliminates some of the asymmetries between the EU and Canada, and provides the most favorable and comprehensive coverage of any of Canada’s free trade agreements.
Canada’s procurement commitments now include increased number of federal entities, including all crown corporations (i.e., state-owned corporations administered at arms-length from government), the MASH sector/utilities, provincial and territorial ministries, most agencies of government and regional, local and municipal governments and entities. The EU guarantees Canadian suppliers reciprocal access to the European procurement market.
Market access changes for Canada
With the provisional application of CETA as of September 2017, Canadian companies have gained preferential access to the EU’s procurement markets, going beyond the commitments made in the GPA. In practical terms this means that Canadian companies will have greater access to the EU procurement market than non-European companies, and better than those based in other G20 nations. However, it is important to consult the market access schedules to CETA, in particular Annexes 19-4, 19-5 and 19-6, in order to establish whether or not a specific good or service is covered by the Agreement.
The threshold levels for procurement contracts in CETA are SDR 130 000 for goods and services and SDR 5 000 000 for works. This is similar to those which are set out by the EU Directives. The only exception is for the procurement of goods and services by bodies governed by public law which are not hospitals, schools, universities and social- service agencies, which are set at a threshold of 355,000 SDR (currently equal to approximately €371,000).This is to reciprocate Canada’s threshold at the sub-central level.
The thresholds levels found in CETA are listed below. To find the relevant threshold level and its equivalent in Euros/dollars (updated every two years), you should identify first the relevant contracting body and the type of contract (goods, services or works). For the full list of the procurement thresholds and contracting authorities covered see Annexes 19-1 to 19-3 of CETA).
The EU’s carved-out sectors include ports and airports; broadcasting; postal services; and shipbuilding and maintenance.
Canada has carved out exceptions within CETA that include healthcare and social services; cultural industries; aboriginal businesses; security and defense; research and development; financial services, regional development; recreation, sport and education services; airport and port authorities; shipbuilding and repair; and any procurement made on behalf of non-covered entities.
|The EU institutions (Commission, Council and EESA) + Central government bodies in the EU Member States||130 000 SDR|
|130 000 SDR|
|5 000 000 SDR|
|Sub-central entities (regional and local entities) and bodies governed by public law that are: hospitals, schools, universities and social- service agencies||200 000 SDR||200 000 SDR||5 000 000 SDR|
|All other bodies governed by public law||355 000 SDR|
|355 000 SDR|
|5 000 000 SDR|
|Utilities (all entities)||400 000 SDR|
|400 000 SDR|
|5 000 000 SDR|
Figure 1: CETA Comparison Table
For more information see the Consolidated Text of CETA
|Before CETA||After CETA|
|Canadian companies excluded|
from the GPA in several sectors of the EU economy
|Canadian companies get almost the same access|
that EU member states provide to one another (see exclusions below)
|National government bodies|
Access to twoEU institutions:
|National government bodies|
Access to threeEU institutions:
|Multiple government bodies at the national level|
(see WTO list of central entities here)
|All 28 member state governments|
|Sub-central government bodies|
Certain sub-central government bodies
(see WTO list of sub-central entities here)
|Sub-central government bodies|
All sub-central government bodies (e.g. local governments, hospitals, health boards etc.)
as defined by EU regulation (NUTS).
|Other government bodies|
Certain sectors such as urban transport, electrical and water utilities.
These three sections are carved out for Canada
(see WTO list of other entities here)
|Other government bodies|
Large array of utilities, including water, electricity
|More coverage than EU|
Energy bodies governed by public law, cultural industries and public transit bodies
Table of contents
Chapter 3: Identifying contract opportunities
One of the fundamental requirements of the EU government procurement regime is that contracts must be advertised EU-wide. This is done through the publication of ‘contract notices’ in centralised media, the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), also known as Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).The publication of contract opportunities in TED is also meant to satisfy the requirement of transparency, by providing the market with relevant information about the contract to be awarded and thereby allowing companies decide whether they have an interest in competing for this contract or not.
There are 18 different standard forms of notices used by contracting entities, ranging from ‘prior information notice’ through ‘notice on a buyer profile’ to ‘voluntary ex-ante transparency notice’. The most relevant and commonly used notices however are the ‘contact notice’, the ‘prior information notice’ and the ‘contract award notice’. This chapter will focus on the ‘contract notice’ as this is the very first vehicle by which contracting authorities inform the market of the contract to be subject to competition, hence the main tool used by companies to seek contract opportunities and take a decision as to whether or not to submit a tender. The last part of this chapter will also provide brief information about the ‘prior information notice’ and the ‘contract award notice’.
Using Tenders Electronic Daily (TED)
All applicable EU procurement notices are published on TED, a centralized online platform and the online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU).Approximately 1 700 new notices are published on TED daily.
What kind of contract notices can be found on TED?
- Contract notices from the 28 Member States, Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland, that are above the stated threshold values of the EU Directives;
- Contract notices from the EU institutions such as the European Commission, the European parliament, The Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service (EEAS);
- Contract notices from the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD);
- Contract notices from non-EU countries that involve EU funds;
- Other voluntary contract notices published by entities that wish to use TED although not strictly bound by the EU rules on procurement.
What cannot be found on TED?
- Contract notices for contract opportunities whose value is below the relevant threshold levels;
- Contracts in non-EU countries, funded by the EU but managed at the local level.
The following sub-chapters provide step-by-step guidance on using TED. There is also a comprehensive and detailed guide on TED issued by the European Commission, please see the TED Help Pages.
TED makes it easy to quickly determine if a procurement market exists for a specific good or service. All users can browse notices by country, region, business sector, type of notice, name of contracting authority, CPV, place of delivery [NUTS], etc.
Those who choose not to register on TED can click “continue” and go to a page displaying notices by country. Select a country of interest.
Under “business notices” on the right side of the page, users can select from the various types of available notices. Contract notices are the most common procurement-contract category.
Lists of notices for this category are presented with a description, document number, country, publication date and submission deadline. Click on the document number of the notice of interest.
Users are then taken to the contract notice. Along the top of the page, a tab specifies the language of the documentation—English, as well as the national language of the contracting authority. Occasionally, tenders may be written only in the original language, however the subject headings should also appear in English.
In the top-left corner, just below the tabs, a line denotes the date of publication, whether the tender is for goods or services, and the type of procedure used (i.e. open, restricted, etc.).
Section IV.1.8 of the contract notice (section II 1.7 in the ‘summary section’), should also indicate whether the tender notice is subject to the GPA of the WTO, meaning that companies from signatory countries’ to the GPA agreement can bid for this contract. Canada is signatory to both the GPA and CETA.
Tip: While there is no special entry indicating whether CETA applies to the contract or not, the GPA entry can be a good indication of whether the contract is accessible to Canadian companies, since Canada is signatory to both the GPA and CETA and what is covered by the GPA will in almost all cases be also covered by CETA. If the GPA box is not ticked, it does not systematically mean that Canadian companies are not eligible, but it is a worth checking more cautiously whether CETA applies or not. The special entry should be added by September 2022.
There is also the possibility to conduct ‘advanced search’ (top right corner of the screen), in which case users can conduct a more precise search for a document by selecting one or more search criteria among the combinations of fields available in the search window.
The search options are divided in two parts: while the first part is visible right away, the further options are accessible by clicking on the button ‘show more filters’.
The first batch of search criteria includes criteria such as:
- Full text (basically a free search where any character strings of the document title, contract, CPV code, etc. can be used to search for documents).
- Type of document
- Type of contract (supplies, services or works)
- Edition number (if the precise edition number of the Official Journal is known)
- Publication date (allowing to restrict the search to specific dates)
- CPV code
- NUTS code
- Main activity
- Documentation date
- Legal basis (allowing a search according to the Directive applicable to the procedure)
- Contracting authority name
- Type of authority
- European Institution (allowing to
Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV)
What is Common Procurement Vocabulary?
Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) is a code that allows government bodies to quickly and precisely identify a product or service. e.g. “Electrical fitting work” has the CPV 45311200.
Using CPV, bidders can register for email notifications and be alerted whenever an EU government body requests that CPV.
To know more about using CPV, go to ‘Setting Up an Automatic Alert’
The Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) used on TED is a classification system for goods and services included in tenders.
CPV assigns a number to every good, service and contract, making it easy to identify, in any language, the contents of a procurement contract.
The first two digits of the nine-digit CPV describe the general category; the remaining digits provide additional specificity. For example, code 03000000-1 refers to “agricultural, farming, fishing, forestry and related products,” while 03212212-9 refers to chick peas.
For more information about CPV, including a full list of codes see the SIMAP page on CPV or the European Commission page on CPV.
The Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) is a series of codes used on TED and assigned to various EU territorial areas. The first letters of the code identify the country, while subsequent numbers identify the specific region.
For example: Sweden has the code SE; South Sweden (Södra Sverige) has the code SE2 and Skane, a region in the south of Sweden (Skåne län) has the code SE224.
For a complete list of all codes, please see the SIMAP page on NUTS.
Understanding contract notices
Example of contract notice published on TED
12/03/2013 S51 - - Services - Contract notice - Negotiated procedure
United Kingdom - Blandton: Office cleaning services
Contract notice – utilities
Section I: Contracting entity
I.1) Name, addresses and contact point(s)
Blandton public limited
47 William Tell Street, PO Box 5
For the attention of: Mr. Erwin Higglesbottom
Telephone: +44 7171 431 4475
Fax: +44 9251 540 6674
Internet address (es):
General address of the contracting entity: www.blandpublic.co.uk
Further information can be obtained from: The above mentioned contact point(s)
Specifications and additional documents (including documents for a dynamic purchasing system) can be obtained from: The above mentioned contact point(s)
Tenders or requests to participate must be sent to: The above mentioned contact point(s)
I.2) Main activity
I.3) Contract award on behalf of other contracting entities
The contract notice is the foundation of the procurement process and marks its official commencement. It is also the basis on which potential bidders make their decision whether or not to bid for the contract. For this reason EU contracting authorities are obliged to properly describe the contract to be awarded.
Contracting authorities are obliged to publish a contract notice every time they intend to award a contract by means of the open, restricted, competitive dialogue, competitive procedure with negotiations or the innovation partnership procedure. The same applies in respect to frameworks but not in respect to specific call-offs of contracts under such frameworks.
Important to note is that once published, the contract notice sets out the scope and nature of the contract (i.e. works or services to be performed, goods to be delivered) and contracting authorities must not alter the scope of the contract during the procurement procedure or after the contract has been awarded (although minor, non-substantial alterations are allowed).
This chapter will explain information in TED contract notices. Remember that it is important to obtain the full tender documents from the contracting authority. This is usually available electronically through a link in the contract notice (usually in Section 1.3 of the notice).
At the very top of the first page of the contract notice, on the left side of the screen, the date of publication appears, as well as the type of contract (goods, services or works) and the contract procedure to be used for the award of the contract.
Immediately below, the applicable Directive will be mentioned indicating the sector to which the contracting authority belongs to. For example, if ‘Directive 2014/24/EU’ appears, it means that the contracting authority is subject to the public-sector Directive, and if ‘Directive 2014/23/EU’ appears, it means that the awarding authority is a utility and the award procedure will be governed by the rules set out in the utilities procurement Directive (see Regulated Sectors).
Section I provides information on the contracting authority, including contact details. It will also include links to the contracting authority webpage and to the address from where the contract documents can be downloaded from. In some cases, the web address of the ‘buyer profile’ will be included.
It is advisable to visit this page to learn more about the contracting authority and the contract at hand.
Contract notices are published in any one of the 24 official European languages of the European Union but a summary of the contract notices will be available in English and translation services are available on the European platform TED. The full text of the contract notice and the tender documents are often available only in the original language. It is up to the contracting authority to decide how much information to provide in English and whether it will accept bids in that language. There are no strict rules and in some cases contracting authorities in non-English speaking Member States chose to publish the entire set of contract documents in English.
It is important to identify the type of procedure that is being used for the award of the contract in order to understand the different phases that will follow and what is required at each one of them. See the section on procurement procedure for further information. The contract procedure to be used for the award of the contract will be mentioned in the very top of the contract notice (see figure above) as well as in section IV of the contract notice (see figure below).
Section II of the contract notice includes relevant information about the contract, such as the subject, duration and a description of the contract. It also provides the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV), place of performance (using NUTS) and whether the contract is a framework agreement, divided into lots, covered by the GPA, or renewable. Section II.2.4 in particular is the main place where the contracting authority will provide a description of the procurement.
Award criteria refer to the rules, identified in advance, that will be employed to select the winning contract. Criteria might include price, project plan and proof of relevant experience. The contract notice or full tender documents specify the weighting of each criterion: for example price 45%, quality 45%, and demonstrated CSR 10%.
Example of contract notice – details
II.1.5) Short description of the contract or purchase(s):
Blandton town wishes to conclude a contract with a provider for results-oriented cleaning and maintenance of its buildings.
Option on washrooms:
During the term of the contract the contractor may be asked to manage the cleaning of the washrooms.
II.1.6) Common procurement vocabulary (CPV)
II.1.7) Information about Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)
The contract is covered by the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA): yes
II.1.8) Information about lots
This contract is divided into lots: no
Example of contract notice – details (continued)
III.2.3) Technical capacity
Information and formalities necessary for evaluating if the requirements are met: * A list of up to five equivalent result-oriented projects implemented during the last four years, with figures, dates and recipients, public or private, involved. This should include:
- if the services were for public authorities, evidence should be provided in the form of certificates issued or countersigned by the competent authority,
- in the case of services to private individuals, the evidence should be in the form of certificates from the individuals, or failing that a statement from the service provider.
The following must be provided for each reference (max. one page per reference):
- contact + function + data
- short description of the contract
- annual volume
- type of contract
* the contractor must provide a general explanation of the organization of the company. This must encompass not only cleaning activities, but also the entirety of their services. This will allow the public authority to gauge the possibility of extending the contract into other services.
* A valid ISO 9001 certificate, or a certificate or evidence of similar measures in the field of quality control. The certificate should be in the tenderer's name and specified for the services of this contract subject (i.e. cleaning, maintenance and window cleaners). If the bidder intends to subcontract part of the work they should also provide an ISO/9001 certification (or equivalent) for the subcontractor.
* A detailed description of the quality-measurement system, including the method of monitoring and reporting services.
* a valid EMAS/ISO 14001 certificate or equivalent, stating the company’s environmental policy, environmental program or action plan for the past year and a statement of the environmental coordinator, or the person responsible for the coordination and implementation of environmental measures in the company.
* an SCC certificate (or an equivalent for foreign bidders) to demonstrate that the company meets the minimum requirements in terms of safety, health and environment,.
* an interpretation from the company’s management of Corporate Social Responsibility in relation to relevant sections of the tender
* A statement by figures on the staff rotation and absenteeism. This is represented by the following formula.
The sickness-absence rate indicates the proportion of the working capacity, during a given period of time, has been lost due to absenteeism.
Absenteeism rate (2015): the number of failed calendar days in one year/number of employees x number of calendar days in one year x 100%
The figures will be compared to industry averages.
* Proof of insurance coverage for professional civil liability (if applicable: including liability of subcontractors).
* Proof of insurance against accidents at work (if applicable: including liability of subcontractors).
* a copy of the annual report to the Public Employment Service or equivalent document of the past four years.
Accidents statistics (frequency rate and actual severity) of the last year (2015). The figures will be compared with averages for the sector.
Frequency rate (2015) = Number of accidents x 1 million/total hours of exposure to the risk
Actual severity (2015) = Number (calendar) days incapacitated x 1000/total number of hours of exposure to risk
Example of contract notice on TED – procedure
Section IV: Procedure
IV.1) Type of procedure
IV.1.1) Type of procedure
Some candidates have already been selected (if appropriate under certain types of negotiated procedures): no
IV.2) Award criteria
IV.2.1) Award criteria
The most economically advantageous tender in terms of the criteria stated below
1. Plan. weighting 50
2. Price. weighting 30
3. CSR. Weighting 20
IV.2.2) Information about electronic auction
An electronic auction will be used: no
IV.3) Administrative information
IV.3.1) File reference number attributed by the contracting entity:
IV.3.2) Previous publication(s) concerning the same contract
IV.3.3) Conditions for obtaining specifications and additional documents (except for a DPS)
Payable documents: yes
Price: 0 EUR
Terms and method of payment: The tender documents will only be made available to the selected candidates.
IV.3.4) Time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate
8.4.2013 - 11:00
IV.3.5) Language(s) in which tenders or requests to participate may be drawn up
IV.3.6) Minimum time frame during which the tenderer must maintain the tender
in days: 120 (from the date stated for receipt of tender)
Contracting authorities may use different award criteria when evaluating tenders (i.e. price, technical characteristics and environmental aspects, etc). There are, however, specific rules on what kind of award criteria may be used and in any event a contract may only be awarded on the basis of criteria that identify the most economically advantageous tender (see Award Criteria above).
Section II.2.5 of the contract notice sets out the criteria employed in assessing the economic advantageousness of the different bids received together with the different weighting given to them. In some cases these will be further elaborated in the tender documents and bidders should make sure to read the tender documents carefully. Note that contracting authorities must establish award criteria in advance of receiving tenders.
Legal, economic, financial and technical information
Section III of the contract notice will include relevant information about the requirements for qualification (also referred to as ‘selection’) for participation in the tender procedure.
The term ‘qualification’ or ‘selection’ in this context refers to the stage of the procurement process where the contracting authority decides who from all those that have expressed an interest, will be invited to submit a final tender. The selection is made by looking at bidders’ financial standing, technical and professional capacity. Contracting authorities are not obliged to carry out a selection process, however if they decide to do so, they will be subject to the general rules of selection which are set out in the Directive. When using the ‘open procedure’, there will be no distinct ‘selection phase’ and often no detail will be provided in this section. In all other procedures (restricted procedure, competitive dialogue, competitive procedure with negotiations and innovation partnership) there will be a selection stage and relevant information may be provided in this sectionFootnote 6, or it will simply refer to the tender documents, as per the example below.
A ‘variant’ is a proposal for a solution to a requirement that differs from the solution set out by the contracting authority in the tender documents (usually in the technical specification). For example, proposing a different technical solution for the construction of a project or carrying out a service.
If a contracting authority wishes to allow variant bids, this would be indicated in section II.2.10 of the contract notice.
An ‘option’ allows the contracting authority to purchase goods or services in addition to the set amount which is indicated in the contract notice or tender documents. For example, if the contract notice is for the purchase of 3 units of a product, it may also specify that the contracting authority has the option (i.e. has the right) to purchase 3 additional units for the same price and conditions. If this is the case, it will be specific in section II.2.11 of the contract notice.
Time limits and deadlines
There are standard minimum time scales that apply to the way the procurement process following the publication of the OJEU contract notice. The time limits depend on the type of procedure chosen. For the relevant time limits under each procedure see the European Commission Your Europe page (relevant information under the section ‘types of public procurement procedure’).
Section IV of the contract notice (‘procedure’) will provide relevant information and specify the time limits for receipt of tenders or request to participate, depending on the type of procedure being used (see Procurement Procedures).
In some cases the contracting authority would like to break down its requirement into different lots and allow companies to bid for one or more of these lots. If this is the case, it will be indicated in Section II.1.6 of the contract notice.
Other types of notices
There are 18 different standard forms of notices used by contracting entities. The most relevant for Canadian companies and most commonly used notice is the ‘contract notice’ described above. Two other, relatively common notices are presented in this chapter: the “prior information notice’ and the ‘contract award notice’.
Prior Information Notice (PIN)
Contracting authorities can make their intention of planned procurements known by publishing a prior information notice (PIN) in TED. A PIN may be published up to 12 months in advance of the actual procurement taking place and must contain some basic information about the planned procurement. Publishing a PIN is not obligatory for contracting authorities, but it gives them an opportunity to alert the market to their requirements and also allow them to reduce the mandatory timelines applicable when the procurement process begins.
Contract award notice
Once the procurement process has been completed, the contracting authority is obliged to publish a ‘contract award notice’ announcing the results of the procurement procedure not later than 30 days following the award of the contract. The contracting authority is obliged to do the same with respect to the award of a framework agreement but not for each specific call-off placed under the framework.
Review of contract award notices may be very useful for Canadian companies that are interested to learn more about their potential competition in specific markets. By browsing TED and using the search criteria described above, it is possible to find out which companies won previous tenders for similar contracts in the same geographic area or same sector.
Section V of the contract award notice will provide information about the number of tenders that participated in the procurement process, the name and address of the bidder who won the contract, the value of the contract and in some cases, information about sub-contracting.
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Chapter 4: Understanding EU procurement procedures
Contracting authorities may use various procedures to select suppliers, but they must respect the rules associated with each procurement procedure.
The open procedure is a single-stage process, whereby the contract opportunity is published and access is usually granted electronically to all interested bidders. Bidders will be required to submit both selection (qualification) information and final proposals at the same time in response to the advertised requirements. Only tenders from suitably qualified economic operators that have submitted the required documents and that meet the selection criteria will be considered. No negotiations are permitted with bidders although contracting authorities may clarify aspects of the tender with bidders.
This procedure is the most common, allows any company to submit a bid, and is often used for lower-value contracts, off-the-shelf products or when the required supplies or services are not particularly complex. The public authority simply advertises its specific requirements and invites applicants to bid.
See the European Commission Your Europe pages(relevant information under the section ‘types of public procurement procedure’) for minimum deadlines applicable to the open procedure.
The restricted procedure is a two-stage process, whereby the contracting authority publishes a contract notice with initial documents (e.g. a pre-qualification document) that set out minimum technical, economic and financial criteria. Bidders submit requests to participate and must provide information in response to the pre-qualification document. The contracting authority then performs initial evaluation to establish which of the bidders are qualified to perform the contract and those will be selected to be invited to submit a tender. The contracting authority is permitted to limit the number of economic operators that it invites to tender which means that not all of the bidders that qualify will be invited to tender. Only those bidders that have been pre-selected will be issued with the full invitation to tender documents. No negotiations are permitted with bidders during this process, although contracting authorities may clarify aspects of the tender with bidders.
See the European Commission Your Europe pages (relevant information under the section ‘types of public procurement procedure’) for minimum deadlines applicable to the restricted procedure.
In urgent cases, the contracting authority may accelerate a restricted procedure. The deadline for an accelerated procedure can be as short as 15 days and the deadline for bidding as short as 10 days.
A contracting authority must demonstrate why an accelerated procedure is required. Failure to do so could result in the process being challenged.
The competitive dialogue procedure is a two-stage process, whereby the contracting authority publishes a contract notice with initial documents (e.g. a pre-qualification document) that set out minimum technical, economic and financial criteria. Similar to the restricted procedure, bidders submit requests to participate and must provide information in response to the pre-qualification document, which is used by the contracting authority to establish whether bidders are qualified to perform the contract and to select those that will be invited to participate in the dialogue. The contracting authority is permitted to limit the number of economic operators that it invites, which means that not all of the bidders that qualify will be invited to participate in the competitive dialogue phase.
The contracting authority will engage in a dialogue with companies to identify the proper specifications and the best bidder. During this phase all aspects of the project can be discussed with bidders and the number of solutions can be reduced as part of the process. Once the contracting authority is satisfied that it will receive proposals that will meet its requirements, it declares the competitive dialogue phase closed and invites final bids from the remaining bidders.
The competitive dialogue procedure is typically used for complex projects, such as infrastructure construction and for the procurement of private-sector partners on Private Finance Initiatives (PFI)/Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects.
See the European Commission Your Europe pages(relevant information under the section ‘types of public procurement procedure’) for minimum deadlines applicable to the competitive dialogue procedure.
Competitive procedure with negotiations
Similar to the restricted procedure or competitive dialogue, this procedure is a two-stage process, with a qualification (selection) stage as described above. The contracting authority then issues an invitation to negotiate only to the bidders that it has shortlisted at the selection stage, which must be at least three. Bidders will be asked to prepare initial proposals and the contracting authority will then enter into negotiation with the shortlisted bidders on the basis of those proposals.
See the European Commission Your Europe pages (relevant information under the section ‘types of public procurement procedure’) for minimum deadlines applicable to the competitive procedure with negotiations.
Negotiated procedure without prior publication of a contract notice
This procedure can only be used in very exceptional circumstances such as when only one company can complete the work (‘sole source’), in which case, the contracting authority is not required to publish a contract notice.
The use of this non-competitive procedure is limited to cases where publishing a contract notice is not possible due to reasons such as: no tenders have been received following a previous call for competition, or when competition is absent for technical reasons, for emergency situations (e.g. flooding), etc. There is an exhaustive list of situations allowing the use of this procedure and the burden of proof demonstrating that the conditions allowing the use of the procedure have been met, lies with the contracting authority. Abuse of the non-competitive negotiated procedure by contracting authorities may expose them to a legal challenge.
Innovation Partnership are used where there is a need for the development of an innovative product or service and the subsequent purchase of these cannot be met by solutions already available on the market. It facilitates the development and subsequent purchase of solutions that require research and innovation. Innovation partnerships are a relatively new procedure, introduced for the first time in the 2014 Directives.
The procedure is similar to a restricted procedure, followed by a contract containing several milestones comprising the research and development part (creating innovative solution) and the supply of the newly found solution (supplying the innovative solution adapted to the specific needs of the contracting authority).Thus the main feature of the innovation partnership procedure is that the innovation occurs during the contractual phase, once the innovation partner is selected and awarded the contract.
The procedure is subject to similar rules as the other procedures. The contracting authority begins the procedure by issuing a contract notice that describes the scope of the project and provides candidates at least 30 days to respond. The contracting authority then evaluates the capacity of respondents to research, develop and implement an appropriate solution. Selection criteria must distinguish capacity from experience to avoid discriminating against new companies. A contract is awarded to one or more bidders based on the most economically advantageous criteria.
The partnership structure includes successive stages for the development and implementation of the solution and sets intermediate targets and a payment schedule. The procurement documents may set other parameters for the partnership; and at the end of any stage, for instance, the contracting entity may be free to terminate the partnership. In innovative projects, intellectual property rights will be an important issue and is likely to be addressed with the tender documents.
Electronic auction (e-auction) may be used to award a contract, as part of another procedure. A contracting authority pre-selects bidders and identifies how the auction will proceed by specifying the number of rounds in the auction, along with deadlines and how candidates will be ranked. The contract notice must also specify all conditions, such as value limits and minimum bids. After each round, bidders must be informed of their rankings, while the identities of other bidders must remain hidden.
Electronic auctions can be used only when precise details, such as technical specifications, have been established and published. Only clearly identifiable factors, such as price or quality indicators (e.g. percentage of titanium content in a metal support), are open to auction. Any non-price factor must be quantifiable and expressible in a score or percentage.
The formula used to evaluate criteria must be made available to all candidates; if an e-auction involves more than price, for instance, then the weighting of each criterion must be provided.
Critical stages common in all procedures
In all procurement procedures, the contracting authority will proceed in two steps when assessing bids received. In the selection stage, it will examine issues of eligibility (by applying a set of exclusion criteria) and qualification (by applying the selection criteria). Only those bids that have passed the exclusion and selection stage will proceed to the award stage, whereby the contracting authority applies the award criteria, in order to determine which bidder meeting the set specifications and requirements should be awarded the contract.
In the case of the restricted procedure, competitive dialogue, competitive procedure with negotiations and innovation partnerships, the procurement will be conducted as a two-stage process, i.e. bidders will be requested to provide information relevant for the selection stage (i.e. exclusion and qualification criteria), and only those shortlisted will then be invited to continue to the second stage of the procurement process – the award stage (in which award criteria are being applied).The exception is the open procedure, which is a one-stage process whereby all interested bidders may submit final bids, however the contracting authority will still verify eligibility and qualification first and only then will proceed to apply the award criteria. The different stages and applicable criteria are described below.
Exclusion criteria examine the personal situation of companies and are applied by the contracting authority at the very first stage of the assessment, irrespective of the type of contract to be awarded. They aim at identifying companies that the contracting authority does not wish to do business with, due to situations of criminal activity or alike.
The rules on exclusion criteria include both mandatory and discretionary ground for exclusion of bidders.
Contracting authorities must apply the mandatory exclusion criteria and they may, if they decide to do so, exclude bidders on the basis of the discretionary exclusion criteria.
For the full list of mandatory and discretionary criteria see Article 57 of Directive 2014/24/EU.
Contracting authorities will exclude companies which found to be guilty of particular crimes according to a judgment that has entered into final legal force. The type of crimes that lead to exclusion are set out in the Directives and relevant EU legal acts. In general, they include participating in a criminal organisation, corruption, fraud and money laundering, child labour and other forms of involvement in human trafficking.
Additional circumstances that may lead to exclusion of a company from the procurement process are bankruptcy or liquidation or a supplier being sentenced for an offence relating to professional conduct, failure to pay taxes or social security contributions or making false declarations. The contract documents must state whether the contracting authority wishes to be able to apply the discretionary grounds for exclusion.
For further detail see Article 57(6) of Directive 2014/24/ EU.
It is worth mentioning that companies may contest an exclusion decision by providing appropriate evidence to the contracting entity. This evidence might include proof of remedying previous offences, cooperating with the authorities investigating and setting up a compliance program.
Selection (qualification) criteria assess the suitability of companies to carry out the contract and determine which bidders may participate in the tender procedure. They form part of the initial expression of interest (or selection) stage and can also be used by contracting authorities to restrict the selection process to the most qualified candidates.
If a public body wants to build a road, for example, it may exclude bidders without experience in road construction. The contracting authority must indicate selection requirements either in the contract notice or when potential tenderers indicate an intention to bid; the entity must indicate minimum levels and how bidders can demonstrate their competency.
Selection criteria may relate only to the following areas:
- suitability for the professional activity;
- economic and financial standing;
- technical and professional ability.
With regards to suitability, the contracting authority can require that bidders register in a national professional body or trade registry. Most EU countries have registrars of companies; a full list appears in Annex XI of Directive 2014/24/EU.
Criteria related to economic and financial standing are designed to confirm that the bidder has the financial and economic capacity to complete the tasks in the contract. The contracting authority can require, for instance, that bidders have total annual revenues of up to twice the estimated value of the contract. An exception applies when a contracting authority can demonstrate that special risks associated with the contract justify a higher required turnover. The contracting authority may require bidders to submit financial statements covering up to the last three years. As a general rule, bidders may be required to submit information such as financial statements and proof of appropriate professional risk-indemnity insurance. For contracts divided into lots, the rules apply to each individual lot. If a contracting authority awards groups of lots, it may specify the requirements for each group.
In 2006, ambulance-service providers based outside Germany complained to the European Commission that several German federal states (Saxony-Anhalt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Lower Saxony) had not posted contract notices at the EU level for ambulance services valued at hundreds of millions of euros. The providers also alleged that the contracts had been awarded in a non-transparent manner.
With regard to technical and professional ability, the contracting entity can require that bidders demonstrate adequate human and technical resources, and experience. The contracting entity can require, for example, professional references or other evidence of skills, efficiency, experience and reliability.
The list of potential documents is quite long and could include: lists of completed contracts and certifications that the work was completed satisfactorily; descriptions of the technical facilities used to control quality; descriptions of research facilities; statements of professional qualifications and available tools; or photographs of the product. Please refer to Annex XII of Directive 2014/24/EU for “means of proof of selection criteria” whereby part I addresses economic and financial standing, and part II addresses technical ability.
Award criteria are applied to determine which bidder meeting the set specifications and requirements should be awarded the contract. They are used to evaluate the “most economically advantageous tender” (MEAT) by allowing the following criteria:
- Price/cost (“life-cycle costing”)
- Best price-quality ratio
The most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) criterion means that the contracting authority may take into account various aspects of bids including cost, quality of work, as well as proposed technical and environmental measures (see Chapter 9). Under MEAT, however, award criteria must not enable the contracting entity to have unrestricted freedom of choice.
MEAT is used for projects, supplies or services, and can relate to the full life-cycle of a contract. It may specify production processes, the provision or trading of goods, work or services, and recycling procedures at the end of a project’s life cycle.
Sub-criteria are often used when main criteria are broad. For example: Price 45%, and quality 55%, which will be broken into various sub-criteria such as technical merit, after-sale service, technical assistance, delivery conditions, functional characteristic, etc.
Lowest price and life-cycle costing
The contracting authority can decide that price is the most important or even the only criterion; this is used only for simple contracts. Price can involve total cost and even total life-cycle cost by taking into account items such as:
- costs relating to acquisition of the goods or services;
- costs of use, such as consumption of energy and other resources used in the execution of the contract;
- maintenance costs;
- end-of-life costs, such as collection and recycling costs (e.g. disposing of chemical waste);
- environmental costs relating to the use of the good, work or service, (provided this cost has a monetary value), which can include greenhouse- gas emissions or other pollutants.
When using life-cycle cost, the contracting authority must indicate how this cost will be calculated and the type of data that bidders must provide. A contracting authority must use objective, non-discriminatory criteria to calculate environmental life-cycle costs. The criteria must not “unduly” favor one supplier over another.
Abnormally low tenders
When the cost included in a tender submission is unusually low, the contracting entity may require that the tenderer explain the submitted price and reject the bid if the response is unsatisfactory.
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Chapter 5: Framework agreements
Framework agreements are used widely by contracting authorities in certain Member States and by European institutions. A framework agreement is a general term for agreements that set out terms and conditions under which specific purchases (call-offs) can be made throughout the term of the agreement. A framework agreement itself is not a contract, but the procurement to establish a framework agreement is subject to the EU procurement rules. The Directives define a framework agreement as “an agreement between one or more contracting authorities and one or more economic operators, the purpose of which is to establish the terms governing contracts to be awarded during a given period, in particular with regard to price and, where appropriate, the quantity envisaged”.
Framework agreements can be applied to all types of contracts. However, they are mostly suitable to situations where the contracting authority does not know the exact quantities, nature or timing of the (recurrent) requirement it will have in the future. A good example of a contract that would be best placed as a framework agreement is the supply of spare parts for machinery or for IT maintenance services.
Framework agreements may be single-supplier (i.e., with one supplier only) or multi-supplier (i.e., with two or more suppliers admitted to the framework).
The term of a framework agreement may generally not exceed four years with the exception of “exceptional cases duly justified, in particular by the subject of the framework agreement”.
Advertisement of a framework agreement
A framework agreement must be advertised in TED by way of a contract notice, similar to a regular contract. The requirement to advertise in the TED applies where the estimated value of all purchases to be made under the framework agreement exceeds the relevant EU threshold for that type of contract (services, goods or works).
Call-offs or ‘specific contracts’ (a term used more often by European institutions) are the periodic orders placed under the framework throughout the term of the agreement.
When the framework agreement is a single-supplier agreement, call-offs are awarded directly within the limits of the terms laid down in the framework agreement.
In the case of a multi-supplier framework agreement, the contracting authority may place a call-off with a company in one of the general two following ways (although there may be variations of the two options):
- If the terms and objective conditions laid down in advance in the framework agreement are sufficiently clear – by awarding the contract directly to the first-ranked company.
- By re-opening competition between the companies that are parties to the framework agreement, inviting all of the companies in the framework that are capable of performing the specific contract to participate in the competition. This option is called “mini- competition”.
The contract documents will specify, in the case of a multi-supplier framework, what method will the contracting authority follow when awarding call-offs.
Issues to consider
Contracting authorities may purchase outside the framework if they wish to, provided that a new contract notice is published in TED for that specific purchase. However, since framework agreements allow contracting authorities the possibility to award call-offs without the need to advertise a contract notice in TED for each specific contract, they will prefer to do so as this means significant time and costs savings. Given the term of most framework agreements (4 years), companies that are not admitted to the framework may not be in a position to provide the same services to the contracting authority during the term of the framework. It is therefore important for companies to succeed in competitions for framework agreements in order not to remain ‘outside the market’.
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Chapter 6: Procurement by EU institutions
There are 13 European Institutions, 4 interinstitutional bodies and over 40 EU agencies in the EU. However only three EU Institutions are covered by CETA, these are:
- The European Commission
- Council of the EU
- European Union External Service (EEAS)
And only in relation to goods, services and construction services that are covered by CETA in the relevant EU Market Access Schedules.
Procurement carried out by these bodies is not subject to the EU Directives which are directed to the 28 Member States. Instead, procurement by EU institutions is subject to the Financial Regulations and Rules of Application.
There are also special procurement rules for EU external actions financed from the EU general budget and the European Development Fund (EDF). However, these activities are not covered by CETA and are therefore outside the scope of this Guide. For further information about EU external aid procurement please consult the Practical Guide (PRAG).
The procedures followed by European institutions are similar to those described above under Directive 2024/24/EU. The table below summarises the choice of procedures by the European institutions, according to the value and nature of the contract:
|Estimated value of contract||Type of procedure|
|€1 - €1,000||Simple payment against an invoice|
|€1,000 - €15,000||Negotiated procedure with a single tenderer|
|€15,000 – €60,000||Negotiated procedure with a at least three tenderers|
|€60,000 – €144,000||€60,000 – €144,000||Negotiated procedure with a at least five tenderers|
|Procedure following a call for expression of interest (list of pre-selected bidders)|
|Above €144,000||Above €5,548,000||Open or restricted procedure|
|Services under Annex XIV of Directive 2014/24/EU, concessions, certain research services and certain audio-visual or media services||Competitive procedure with negotiations|
|The following special procedures may also be used occasionally:|
For more information on procurement by the European Institutions please consult the EU institutions - Public contracts portal.
See Doing Business with the European Commission - tips for potential contractors.
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Chapter 7: Practical considerations for bidders
The importance of good market research should not be underestimated. Research should ideally be undertaken before preparing to bid or requesting to participate in a tender process. Areas to research include assessing the market for a particular good or service, understanding how competitive the market is and where a competitive advantage might be gained, and identifying any specific economic, political or environmental circumstances related to that market. It is possible to search for contract award notices in TED for additional information on previous contract awards and market competition.
Submitting a bid
Compliance with deadlines
Deadlines in government procurement procedures are usually strict and in many cases, absolute. Late bids are almost always disqualified from consideration. When submitting a bid by mail, bidders must recognize that deadlines usually specify receipt of bids rather than mailing date. For more information see section on time limits and deadlines.
The technical bid should respond to the specifications and requirement set out in the tender documents. This will form the part of the bid which will be assessed by the contracting authority on the basis of the award criteria. The information to be included on the technical bid is specific to every sector and is often one of the longest and most time-consuming aspect of bidding for public contracts.
The award criteria, contained in the tender documents or the contract notice, inform bidders of the relative importance of the various aspects of the technical proposal and bidders should focus on structuring their proposals in accordance.
The financial bid includes the overall cost or pricing offered. In some cases contracting authorities will ask to have the financial bid submitted in a separate envelope (to be opened only after the technical evaluation had been completed).
The European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) allows for company self- documentation for pre-qualification (selection phase), as part of the procurement bidding process. It is a self-declaration of the company’s financial status, abilities and suitability for a government procurement procedure. It is available in all EU languages and used as a preliminary evidence of fulfilment of the conditions required in government procurement procedures across the EU. Only the winning bidder has to supply all the certification documents.
The ESPD makes one single pre-qualification document applicable in all Member States. Contracting authorities start an ESPD by entering key information related to the contract before posting the contract notice on TED. If an ESPD is not part of a contract notice, a copy can be requested from the contracting authority along with the full tender documents.
For more information on ESPD European Single Procurement Document and eCertis.
eCertis is a European Commission service that provides additional information about the certificates bidders must typically include with bids. eCertis is the online repository of certificates for EU government procurement. Search the website by country and by document type to access additional information about a particular document. The system does not, however, contain all documentation, as some may have to be provided by a judge or a notary. The information provided is not legally binding.
Contract notices in TED generally feature multiple languages; most are in English as well as in the national language of the contract authority. The full tender documents, however, are often only in the national language. Many tenders require that submissions feature the national language of the contracting authority. Professional translators are available in both Canada and across the EU.
Some Canadian companies partner with local companies on bids. Choosing an appropriate partner requires research. Some contracting authorities will advise bidders about potential partners. Companies wishing to partner may also search TED for local companies, especially SMEs that were awarded previous contracts. See section on Contract award notice.
Enterprise Europe Network is a website of the European Commission designed to help SMEs take advantage of business opportunities. This resource can also help bidders identify potential partners.
Subcontracting occurs when a bidder that has been awarded a contract or is competing for a contract (the prime contractor) entrusts another entity with the performance of part of the works or services that are the subject matter of that contract (the sub-contractor).
The prime contractor may use one or more sub-contractors. Sub-contractors may also sub-contract some elements of the works or services that they are required to deliver (further subcontracting). Note that even though the sub-contractor is involved in the execution of part of the contract, it is the prime contractor that is ultimately responsible and liable to the contracting authority for the proper execution of a contract.
In many cases, subcontracting may be necessary or useful. For example, if the contract requires a number of specialised activities, or if it makes good financial and business sense to do so, e.g., when the prime contractor finds it is less expensive to use a specialist subcontractor for a specific element of a contract rather than executing that element of the contract itself. Sub-contracting may also be useful for Canadian companies that do not meet all of the qualification (selection) criteria required by the contracting authority. In such cases, the EU Directives permits the Canadian company to rely on sub-contractors to supplement the capacities or resources that are lacking in order to qualify. Lastly, for Canadian SMEs, which may not be able to perform the entire contract themselves because of its size, specialisation, or their limited resources, it may be a good strategy to use the Enterprise Europe Network to find EU-based companies that are looking for sub-contractors.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is often given additional consideration in the EU. If you can provide evidence of additional competencies (such as CSR) that you and/or your company can demonstrate, you should include the relevant documentation in support of this when submitting the tender, to enhance your chances of success.
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Chapter 8: Bid protests, complaints and remedies
What happens when things go wrong?
Under the EU Remedies Directive 2007/66/EC, bidders have a right to seek redress if there have been errors in the procedure or if a contract has been awarded unfairly. The Directive sets a minimum legal standard that applies in every EU Member State. Eligible Canadian bidders enjoy the same legal rights as European (domestic) companies for contracts covered by CETA.
It is critical to respect deadlines for challenges. Deadlines may vary among Member States, but in some cases, they may require a legal action within 10 days from the point at which the claimant either was, or should have been, aware of the infringement.
Note that the deadline for challenging a contract award in some Member States may be limited to 30 days and in some cases, a legal action is most effective if it is done within 10 days of the contract award decision being sent to participating companies (see time limits below).
Although the EU Directive prescribes minimum standards, legal proceedings will be conducted in the Member State where the contract is originated. In some Member States (e.g. Denmark) a regulatory body processes challenges while in others (e.g., in Sweden, France or the UK) procurement disputes will be heard before a court. A bidder wishing to challenge a contract award should seek appropriate legal counsel or consult the Mission of Canada to the EU.
An unsuccessful bidder who initiates legal proceedings during the tendering process and before the contract is signed can request the court to:
- Annul an unlawful decision taken during the process (e.g., a decision to exclude the bidder from participation in the procurement process);
- Change any unlawful selection or unlawful elements of the tender documents, such as discriminatory specifications or award criteria;
- Award damages for losses incurred as a result of the breach.
When a contracting authority concludes a procurement procedure and takes a decision to award a contract, it must inform all participating bidders of the contract award decision before actually signing the contract. At this point of time a ‘standstill period’ commences, which is a prohibition against concluding contracts for a certain period. If suppliers have been notified of the award decision electronically (e.g. via email), the standstill period will apply for 10 calendar days. During the standstill period the contracting authority is prohibited from signing the contract with the winning supplier.
It is important to note that a legal action raised prior to contract signing will prevent the contracting authority and the successful bidder from concluding the contract. This means that a claimant need not request an interim order to block a contract award. The block is automatically effective until legal proceedings conclude or until another solution is in place. The contracting authority can, however, appeal to the courts to suspend the block.
Canadian suppliers have guaranteed access to pre-contractual remedies in the EU for only the first 10 years of CETA as of 21 September 2017, unless Canada’s provinces and territories make available similar remedies under their respective domestic review regimes.
After the contract has been signed, there are two ways to seek remedy: damages and/or a ‘declaration of ineffectiveness’.
Damages: claimants can be compensated for bid-preparation and submission costs. A court may also award a proportion of lost profits, particularly if the claimant’s unsuccessful bid was demonstrably strong. Although courts have awarded damages, many post-contractual challenges end in negotiated settlements.
Declaration of ineffectiveness: a declaration of ineffectiveness annuls a concluded contract by making all rights and obligations under that contract unenforceable. In some Member States the annulment of the contract will be retrospectively whereas in other Member States the annulment will be in relation to future rights and obligations only, combined with fines imposed on the contracting authority.
A declaration of ineffectiveness may be available for companies in three main circumstances:
- In cases of illegal direct award i.e., when the contracting authority has failed to publish a contract notice in advance when this was required;
- When there was a breach of the rules relating to the standstill period in combination with another breach of the rules, and the complainant was denied an opportunity to challenge the contract award decision as a result;
- Where there was a breach of the rules concerning the award of call-offs under framework agreements and dynamic purchasing systems, when the value is above the relevant thresholds.
Any claim for a declaration of ineffectiveness (as opposed to damages) would need to be brought within the earlier of 30 days from either the issue of an award letter to the unsuccessful bidder or publication of an award notice. In case of illegal direct award, when no contract notice or a ‘voluntary ex ante transparency notice’ was published, bidders will have six months to file a request for ineffectiveness from the date of contract award.
The time limits for damages claim will vary, depending on the Member State concerned. In most cases, bidders will have at least 30 days to bring a claim for damages. In the UK for example, the time limit is 30 days from the day on which the bidder first knew or ought to have known of the infringement, but there is discretion for the court to extend this where there is a good reason for doing so, but only up to a maximum of three months from the date of knowledge.
Complaint to the European Commission
Companies may also complain to the European Commission alleging a breach of the procurement rules and the EU Treaty principles (e.g. equal treatment, transparency, etc). The Commission has complete discretion as to whether it will investigate the complaint or not. It may also wish to know if the complainant has exhausted all national legal processes before involving the European Commission, but this is not a pre-condition for the Commission’s involvement.
The European Commission increasingly assumes a direct role in claims of procurement infringements. The Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) authorizes the Commission to initiate legal proceedings against Member States that fail to comply with EU rules. This is a long and cumbersome procedure, however.
If the Commission decides to intervene, it can ask the relevant Member States where the contracting authority is based (not the contracting authority directly) to suspend the contract and if the Member States refuses, it can bring that Member State before the Court of Justice of the European Union. Ultimately, the Court of Justice of the European Union could impose a monetary penalty on the Member State for every day it has been in breach of its (government procurement) obligations. There is no time limit on making a complaint to the Commission, and the entire proceedings could take three to four years or more although in some cases interim measures by the European Commission can be swift.
In 2006, ambulance-service providers based outside Germany complained to the European Commission that several German federal states (Saxony-Anhalt, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and Lower Saxony) had not posted contract notices at the EU level for ambulance services valued at hundreds of millions of euros. The providers also alleged that the contracts had been awarded in a non-transparent manner.
Bid protests in European institutions contracts
Government procurement conducted by the European institutions (as opposed to procurement procedures conducted by contracting authorities in the 28 Member States) is subject to specific rules and a separate review mechanism.
Companies that have been treated unfairly during a procurement procedure are advised to contact the relevant EU Institution at first instance and try to address the problem with them directly. EU institutions are under an obligation to provide answers to questions and complaints. If the response received by the EU institution is unsatisfactory, then there are a couple of options open for aggrieved companies.
Complaint to the European ombudsman
Companies may submit a complaint form to the European Ombudsman concerning an EU Institution tender procedure. The European Ombudsman investigates complaints about maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union and if it considers the complaint justified, it may issue a recommendation to the relevant European body or try to help in finding a fair solution to the problem.
Recommendations by the European Ombudsman are non-binding and the entire process may be lengthy. For these reasons, it is considered to be less effective than a court procedure.
Appeal to the European court
The General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg has jurisdiction to hear cases based on procurement procedures launched by EU institutions. Complaints must be submitted within 2 month of the decision which is being protested. Cases will be brought on the basis of non-contractual liability, which means that the court will be able to annul decisions and award damages if it has established that a breach of the applicable rules has taken place.
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) investigates fraud against the EU budget, corruption and serious misconduct within the European institutions. In case of suspicions during a procurement procedure arise, which concern illegal activity of this kind by EU procurement officers or related staff, a complaint can be communicated to OLAF by any party, also anonymously without any further requirement for direct involvement. Similar to the European Ombudsman, OLAF does not have judicial powers but the results of its investigation may lead to administrative, financial disciplinary or judicial actions.
CETA and the involvement of the government of Canada
Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service is present across the EU and ready to support SMEs overcoming trade barriers and other difficulties with respect to procurement markets in all of the 28 EU Member States. Canadian companies may bring any issues to the attention of the government of Canada by registering a trade barrier.
CETA also has a dedicated Committee on Government Procurement, whereby representatives of the European Union and representatives of Canada meet to consider, among others, issues regarding government procurement that are referred to it by one of the parties.
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Chapter 9: Background to the European Union
For general background on the EU, please consult the guide Exporting to the EU: A Guide for Canadian Business issued by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.
Green and sustainable procurement
Green Public Procurement (GPP) has been endorsed in a number of EU policies and strategies. It is defined in the Communication (COM (2008) 400) “Public procurement for a better environment” as “a process whereby public authorities seek to procure goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle when compared to goods, services and works with the same primary function that would otherwise be procured.”
Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) is a process by which public authorities seek to achieve the appropriate balance between the three pillars of sustainable development - economic, social and environmental - when procuring goods, services or works at all stages of the project.
The EU Directives integrate possibilities that aim at the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable government procurement, while ensuring compliance with the fundamental principles of the EU Treaty and obtaining best value for money. Many EU contracting authorities will integrate in one or more phases of the procurement process ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ considerations. This may be done at the very initial decision on what to buy (i.e., defining the subject matter of the contract), through the application of exclusion and selection phases (for example, excluding companies for previous breaches of applicable national or EU environmental law) and impact the decision to award the contract, e.g., by allocating additional points when applying the award criteria for even better performance when taking account of environmental or sustainable criteria. Green and sustainable considerations may also be integrated in the final awarded contract, by way of contract performance clauses, requiring higher standards for sustainability of environmental friendly performance.
The European Commission (DG Environment) maintains a webpage on Green and Sustainable Public Procurement. Buying green - handbook on green government procurement.
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Annex 1: Common Q&As
Q- How is the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) threshold in CETA calculated?
A-The thresholds set out in the EU Directives and CETA agreement apply to Drawing Rights (SDRs). Every two years, the Government of Canada will update the Canadian dollar equivalent of the various SDR thresholds using a formula laid out in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).
Thresholds are converted in Canadian dollars on a bi-annual basis, based on the average exchange rate between SDR and CAD for the previous two years. 2018-2019 thresholds are set at SDR 130 000 for good and services and SDR 5 000 0000 for works.
The revised Free Trade Agreement thresholds (see entry for European Union) are published by the Treasury Board Secretariat in the form of a contracting policy notice (Contracting Policy Notice 2018-2019).
Q- Are EU and CETA threshold levels inclusive or exclusive VAT?
A-The thresholds set out in the EU Directives and CETA agreement apply to contracts with a value net of value-added tax (VAT). Contracts will be covered by the rules if their net value is estimated to be equal to or greater than the thresholds.
Q- I read that the threshold level is set at Goods: SDR 130,000, Services: SDR 130,000. Is that per contract? What is the current SDR rate?
A-Yes, the value thresholds are assessed against individual contracts. In Canadian dollars, the value thresholds for goods and services are equivalent to $CAD 237,700 for 2018-2019.These thresholds are readjusted every two years to account for currency fluctuations.
External aid and contracts funded by international organizations
Q- Does CETA allow Canadian companies to bid on international assistance projects or EU projects for external aid? (e.g. EuropaAid, EDF)?
A-The answer is ‘no’, CETA does not cover EuropaAid contracts. CETA has an explicit carve-out in Article 19.2.3.e. for these types of procurements (applying equally in Canada and the EU):
Article 19.2 – Scope and coverage
3. Except as otherwise provided in a Party’s Annexes to its Market Access Schedule for this Chapter, this Chapter does not apply to:
e. procurement conducted:
- for the specific purpose of providing international assistance, including development aid;
- under the particular procedure or condition of an international agreement relating to the stationing of troops or relating to the joint implementation by the signatory countries of a project; or
- under the particular procedure or condition of an international organisation, or funded by international grants, loans or other assistance if the applicable procedure or condition would be inconsistent with this Chapter.
Q- We are interested in bidding for a contract for the INARA project in Lebanon. It appears to be a project funded by the EU through EuropeAid (the International Cooperation and Development Department of the European Commission (EC)) but managed and implemented by the Business Incubation Association in Tripoli (BIAT). Does CETA allow Canadian firms to bid on this tender?
A-The answer is ‘no’. CETA Article 19.2.3.e. has an explicit carve-out for projects related to international assistance, development aid and/or funded through international organisations.
Q-We are a Montreal-based consulting firm that exports consultancy services to projects that are funded by foreign countries or international financial institutions such as the World Bank. Are Canadian firms now eligible to participate in government procurement, grants and other award procedures financed under the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, laid down in Annex IV to the latter Agreement as revised by Decision No 1/2014 of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers of 20 June 2014 regarding the revision of Annex IV to the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement (2014/428/EU)?
A-The answer is ‘no’. CETA does not guarantee access to contracts awarded under the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement (which is focused on international assistance/development). CETA has an explicit carve-out in Article 19.2.3.e. for these types of procurements (applying equally in Canada and the EU).
Public Private Partnerships (P3s)
Q- Are Public Private Partnerships (P3s) covered in CETA?
A-CETA procurement rules only apply to certain construction P3s, such as P3s for the construction of highways (e.g. toll roads) and buildings. CETA does not apply to P3s for the construction of:
- Airports (e.g. terminal facilities to air carriers);
- Public transit (e.g. public transportation by bus, rail, or tramway)
- Water and wastewater (e.g. production, transport or distribution of drinking water);
- Electricity (e.g. production, transport or distribution of electricity); and
- Gas (e.g. production, transport or distribution of gas)
Nothing in CETA forces municipalities to adopt a particular model for the delivery of public infrastructure. CETA does not prohibit or limit the use of P3s.
Space and aerospace
Q- Can Canadian space suppliers bid on EU Member States’ space contracts that are not defence-related? (e.g., ESA which is not covered by CETA)
A-Canadian suppliers can only bid on contracts put out by EU Member State space entities that are covered under the relevant schedules to CETA. As a consequence, Canadian suppliers cannot bid on contracts put out by ESA.
Annex 2: Setting up a TED account
Enter a username email address and, although anyone may use TED, select a password; no further details are registered users can save a user profile required. An email will be sent to the (preferences, main language, etc.); save address. Click on the link provided to search profiles to your account; save return to TED and confirm the account documents in a clipping list to access by re-entering an email address. them quicker and save search profiles as email alerts or RSS feeds as well as receive new notices of interest directly in your email inbox or RSS reader.
Setting an account:
Go to simap.ted.europa.eu/. SIMAP is the primary online resource for EU government procurement. The name is an acronym for Information System for Government procurements (in French système d’information pour les marchés publics).
To register on TED, click on the TED icon and then left-click on log in on the left side of the page. This opens the European Commission Authentication Service (ECAS) website. On this site, click the globe image marked “external.” This is for users who do not work for an EU Institution.
For a detailed guide on TED features, please see the TED Help Pages.
Annex 3: Setting up an automatic email alert
Email alerts enable registered users to receive daily, weekly, biweekly and monthly notifications about potential contract opportunities in the EU. Note, however, that monthly alerts may not be desirable as deadlines can be as short as 15 days. Email alerts are one of the simplest and most useful tools for receiving notifications concerning the EU procurement market.
- Log into ECAS to receive alerts.
- Once the account is set up, return to the TED homepage, and click on Business Sector (CPV) on the left side, underneath the SIMAP, eNotices,TED and eTendering tabs.
- Now select, from the categories listed, those you’d like to follow. This will take users to a list of results showing all contract and award notices, along with other document types, in the selected category.
- On the left side of the screen under “Search result,” there are several boxes. Use these to narrow your search by “Document type,” “Country” and “CPV Code.” Moving to the right across the top of the screen, select the “Save search” box. To save the search, hover over “Save search” and select “Save search to search profiles,” and assign a name when prompted.
- To make the search more precise, also specify “Document type,” “Country” (which includes whether it is covered by the GPA) and/or “CPV Code.”
- Under the “CPV Code” box, users can focus their searches and specify an exact product or service.
- For example: Construction and Real Estate, Construction work, Building installation work.
- Once you have identified products or services, save the search by clicking on “Saved search profile” on the left side under the “My TED” box. The search will appear. Under “Set as news alert/RSS feed,” users can select daily, weekly, biweekly (fortnightly) or monthly email alerts, or RSS feed. The results will be sent by email to the address associated with the ECAS account.
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