Contract law and public procurement

In 2014, the European Union’s GDP was almost € 14 trillion.1 Its public procurement was estimated to account for 16 percent of the GDP.2 16 percent of € 14 trillion is € 2, 24 trillion.
A € 10 bill is approximately 0,1 mm thick. Thus, in € 10 bills, tightly packed together, the money spent on public procurement in the EU each year would, with a ten percent margin, reach halfway around the world.
Consequently, we have good reasons to make sure that our public procurement is efficient. Even a marginal improvement – let’s say two percent – will provide access to vast sums of money to be used in a better way than on inefficient procurements. Two percent of € 2,24 trillion – that is about 450 km in € 10 bills – equals e.g. most of Sweden’s yearly spend on public procurement. It is my firm belief that this article is worth at least that much!

The structures of contract law and of public procurement law are fundamentally different. While contract law regulates the relationship between the parties to a contract – and nothing else – public procurement law regulates the relationships between a contracting authority and all suppliers, in practice primarily those who are not awarded a contract.
Although fundamentally different, the two structures meet and must coexist in public procurement. On a timeline, public procurement law primarily regulates events prior to the conclusion of the contract, while contract law starts when the offers3 are submitted and continues way past the immediate relevance of public procurement law.
In a more practical sense, they affect each other greatly. Public procurement law limits the freedom of contract, both regarding the right to conclude contracts with whomever the contracting authority wants and in some regards the

Jon Kihlman
no 3
s. 246