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Public procurement

Public procurement contracts cover supplies, services and works purchased by the public sector. Contracts over a certain value are subject to European Union (EU) rules and procedures. These rules seek to ensure fair treatment for businesses and openness in the handling of calls to tender. They should be seen in the context of greater competition and the freedom to provide services within the EU single market.

Certain contracts, such as in the defence field, remain a matter for EU Member States themselves, because they affect specific national interests.

In 2014 the EU changed the rules on public works, supply and service contracts, and concession contracts. These rules started to apply from 2016, reducing red tape, removing barriers for market access by small and medium-sized enterprises, and ensuring that contracting authorities prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interests that arise in the conduct of procurement procedures.