Public Procurement reform in Romania discussed with foreign experts in Bucharest last week

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Public procurement was in the limelight last week in the Romanian capital, on the occasion of the Bucharest Public Procurement Conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel on January 26. The event was meant to clarify various practical conflicting aspects in the public procurement field, prompted by the European Public Procurement Directives that have been taken over in the Romanian legislation.

EMEA Conferences, the organizers of the event, invited as speakers two renowned European experts: Sue Arrowsmith from UK (who also kindly granted us an interview before the event) and Virginie Dor from Belgium, both having an impressive expertize in commenting and enforcing the EU legislation.

Sue Arrowsmith is currently Professor of Public Procurement Law and Director of the Public Procurement Research Group in the School of Law, University of Nottingham. She has been involved in procurement law reform for many years as a member (since 1997) of the European Commission’s Advisory Committee for the Opening Up of Public Procurement. She is also a member of the UNCITRAL Experts Group on Procurement in connection with the on-going reform of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Procurement, was a member of the World Bank International Advisory Group on Procurement for its recent overhaul of its policies on procurement in developing countries, and has been consultant for the UK government, WTO, OECD, European Central Bank, ILO and the Law Commission of England and Wales, as well as for law firms and private companies.sue

Virginie Dor is Public Procurement Partner with the Brussels Office of one of the prestigious European law firms, acting as expert in the European Commission group of experts on public procurement. She assists private companies and public authorities in all stages of the award of public procurement contracts. She is widely known for her numerous publications and her intense speaking and lecturing program (about 40 lectures a year in English, French and Dutch), being the author and co-author of various articles, books and reference works dealing with public procurement and the transposition of public procurement directives into Belgian Law.virginie

The EMEA conference’s intention was to allow the Romanian audience interested in the public procurement topic to understand the reform of Public Procurement, starting from the practical examples from other jurisdictions where the new directives had been previously transposed.

The two speakers presented current key-topics in the field, such as the recent CJEU case law on public procurement award procedures, including exclusions (for non-payment of tax, poor past performance etc.), selection criteria (financial, technical etc.), award criteria, including disclosure of sub-criteria and methodology or use of third parties (sub-contractors etc.)

Reliance on other entities’ capabilities was another topic: what to consider when deciding to rely on other entities capabilities; how to best choose whether to enter an association / consortium agreement, third party support agreement or sub-contracting agreement in order to comply with bid requirements; consequences for the performance of the contract

The framework agreements under the EU Public Procurement Directives under the new legislation tackled the setting up a framework agreement, operating a framework agreement and how different are the public sector and utilities rules on framework agreements.

At the same time the speakers referred to the changes brought to the public procurement contracts, namely to the possibilities and constraints to change the public procurement contract prior and after signature under the new EU Public Procurement Directives.

Having different expertize areas and experience, the two lady speakers explained the new legislation in different, yet complementary notes. While Mrs. Arrowsmith’s pragmatism focused on the final aim of the public procurement procedure, Virginie Dor underlined how the contractant’s needs can be met the best.

Both speakers, who were very interested in the Romanian public procurement system, encouraged the exchange of opinions and the audience’s questions.

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