Lessons for a Fairer, More Transparent, and More Competitive Public Procurement in the European Union

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Carolina Morais
Antonio Bob Santos


Public procurement is one of the main instruments of State action and resource allocation and it is used in a wide range of public policies. It is a particularly vital tool for social, environmental and innovation policies. However, it entails many challenges, as public funds are expected to be used to obtain maximum profitability; and market development opportunities must be seized to strategically contribute to innovation, social inclusion, and financial and environmental sustainability of a country. This article, eminently macro-conceptual, discusses the topic of public procurement, characterizing it as a framework for boosting contracting activity in public bodies across Europe, and highlighting the evolution of this practice and its corresponding regulation. Attention will then turn to its main implementation instruments, considering the fundamental principles of public procurement and the EU law restrictions that underpin them. Draws lessons on issues of systematic monitoring of public procurement performance in various European countries, with a view to the concerted practice of public procurement, in compliance with the principles of fairer, more transparent, and more competitive Public Administration.

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Author Biography

Carolina Morais, ISCTE-IUL, University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal

Escola de Sociologia e Políticas Públicas