It’s time for EU companies to get fair access to international public procurement!

Author: Jennifer Emilie Richard

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Renew Europe welcomes the plenary adoption of the trilogue mandate as prepared by the international trade committee on an International Procurement Instrument. Renew Europe strongly believes the International Procurement Instrument will be an essential part of an assertive EU trade toolbox. As the 2 trillion euro procurement market of the EU is largely open to foreign competitors, the procurement market of many third remains closed or restricted to European companies. The objective of this instrument is not to close our market to others, but increase leverage in negotiating to the opening of third markets.

This tool should give the EU the possibility to take measures that affect the participation in tenders of companies from third countries if European companies cannot participate in tenders in those countries.

Renew Europe stresses the need to have a flexible and broad toolbox so that different measures can be applied depending on the circumstances. For instance, there should be the possibility for a stronger measure if there is no reciprocity at all. The EU should be able to defend itself and encourage others in an effective way to open their procurement markets. In addition, there should not be too many possibilities to apply exceptions or exemptions, as this would reduce the effectiveness of the instrument.

After having been blocked for many years, the International Public Procurement instrument is finally on the table. The EU must address this lack of reciprocity and ensure that European companies will have more opportunities. Renew Europe looks forward to start the negotiations with the Council and the Commission on this important issue.

Liesje Schreinemacher, Renew Europe shadow rapporteur in International Trade committee, declared: "I cannot justify why foreign companies can benefit from our open market by selling us their buses or building our roads, while European companies don't have any chance to access the market in those countries. The EU should stop being naive and should not be taken advantage of by other countries. This proposal for an International Procurement Instrument is a good first step, as part of a package that will tackle coercion and foreign subsidies. However, I will continue to ask for strong measures that will ensure fair opportunities for our companies on the internal market as well as abroad."