An EU initiative on concessions. Questionnaire to social partner, civil society and other stakeholders (from 05.08.2010 to 30.09.2010)
Åpen høring igangsatt av Kommisjonen 5.8.2010
BAKGRUNN (fra Kommisjonens pressemelding 5.8.2010, engelsk utgave)
Commission launches consultation on improving concession contracts
The European Commission has launched a consultation today on the EU rules for concession contracts. Concessions are arrangements between public authorities and private operators, with the purpose of providing and exploiting an infrastructure, such as an airport, or a service, such as water distribution to the public. Concession contracts are significant as they are increasingly being used by public authorities at all levels.
The objective of this consultation is to collect further views and expertise on how the current EU rules on concessions work in practice and how they might need to be improved to further enhance transparency, to ensure equal opportunities for potential bidders in the award procedures as well as the necessary legal certainty, but without making the framework too complex or burdensome. The consultation is aimed at gathering input from contracting authorities, social partners and the business community. The results of the consultation will feed into an impact assessment the Commission is currently preparing for the end of 2010, which will accompany new initiatives in this field.
FRA SPØRRESKJEMAET (innledning, engelsk utgave)
The Commission is presently assessing the need for and impact of an initiative on concessions* with a view to improving the current legal framework. In this context, the Commission has prepared the present questionnaire the aim of which is to learn from social partners, as well as from their associations on their experience with concessions, hear their views on how the present rules work and to gather suggestions for improvements. In particular, the Commission is hoping to obtain, with the present questionnaire, a valuable input on how the initiative may affect the working and living conditions of the EU citizens. The questionnaire is part of a wider consultation of stakeholders which includes an open consultation and two other specific questionnaires addressed to private and public undertakings and contracting authorities.
An initiative on concessions would aim to facilitate the use of concessions and ensure best value for money for both users and contracting authorities, by providing all interested parties with legal security and guaranteeing transparency and equal treatment for economic operators. It would also enhance competition and the internal market in concessions contracts, and contribute to EU policy goals in the field of Public-Private Partnerships, as explained in the Commission's Communication on «Mobilising private and public investment for recovery and long term structural change: developing Public Private Partnerships».
In line with the Lisbon Treaty provisions and, in particular, the principle of proportionality, and taking into due account of the Commission's guidelines on «Better Regulation» as well as the European Parliament's report on new developments in public procurement (2009/2175(INI)), the Commission will seek to establish the most appropriate way to meet those objectives without making the legal framework too complex or burdensome while ensuring the necessary legal certainty.
*According to the current definition of concessions set out in art. 1 (3) and (4) of Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts, (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32004L0018:E...), concessions are contracts similar to public contracts, with a difference that the contractor bears the economic risk of the exploitation of the work or service at stake. In light of the resulting case law of the EU Court of Justice, "the essential characteristic of the concession is that it is the concessionaire himself who bears the main, or at least the substantial, operating risk".