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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Public procurement

Public procurement refers to the process by which public authorities, such as government departments or local authorities, purchase work, goods or services from companies.

To create a level playing field for businesses across Europe, EU law sets out minimum harmonised public procurement rules. These rules govern the way public authorities and certain public utility operators purchase goods, works and services. They are transposed into national legislation and apply to tenders whose monetary value exceeds a certain amount. For tenders of lower value, national rules apply. Nevertheless, these national rules also have to respect the general principles of EU law.

This website provides information on European public procurement policies. A general introduction to public procurement is available on Your Europe. If you are looking for business opportunities in any EU country, please visit Tenders Electronic Daily. For information on grants and procurement carried out by EU institutions, please visit the Funding and Tenders Portal.

If you want to collaborate with peers in the EU, visit the Public Buyers Community Platform, a comprehensive and secure platform aimed at strengthening collaboration between public authorities, suppliers, and the European Commission in public procurement.

Why public procurement is important

Every year, over 250 000 public authorities in the EU spend around 14% of GDP (around €2 trillion per year) on the purchase of services, works and supplies. 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.

The public sector can use procurement to boost jobs, growth and investment, and to create an economy that is more innovative, resource and energy efficient, and socially-inclusive. High quality public services depend on modern, well-managed and efficient procurement.

Improving public procurement can yield big savings: even a 1% efficiency gain could save €20 billion per year.

In the spotlight

Public procurement strategy

The European Commission’s public procurement strategy focuses on 6 strategic policy priorities that were set out in the 2017 communication 'Making public procurement work in and for Europe'. It aims to improve EU public procurement practices in a collaborative manner by working with public authorities and other stakeholders.

Press release

Support for large infrastructure projects

National authorities and contracting authorities/entities can use the ex-ante mechanism to pose questions to the European Commission and receive an assessment of a project’s compatibility with the EU's regulatory framework before taking important steps such as launching a call for tender for the main project works, signing an international agreement, or deciding to use a negotiated procedure without prior publication.

More information is available in the communication ‘Helping investment through a voluntary ex-ante assessment of the procurement aspects for large infrastructure projects’.