During the Spring of 2014, Dr Jonathan Galloway and Dr Francesco De Cecco of the Newcastle Law School organised a seminar series on ‘The Intersections of Antitrust: Competition Law and…’ and I was fortunate to be invited to present my views on the interaction between competiton law and public procurement. A condensed re-run of the presentations will take place in London on 15 September 2015 in a joint LSE/Newcastle event.
This seminar series is now turning into an edited collection to be published by Oxford University Press. I have uploaded my contribution on SSRN, which abstract is as follows:
The interaction between competition law and public procurement has been gaining visibility in recent years. This paper claims that these two bodies of EU economic law mainly intersect at two points, or in two different dimensions.
Firstly, they touch each other at the need to tackle anticompetitive practices (or bid rigging) in public tenders. This has attracted significant attention in terms of the enforcement priorities of competition authorities and led to recent regulatory developments in the 2014 EU public procurement Directives aimed at increasing the sanctions for bid riggers.
Secondly, competition and public procurement cross again at the need to avoid publicly-created distortions of competition as a result of the exercise of buying power by the public sector, or the creation of regulatory barriers to access to public procurement markets. This second intersection has been less explored and the development of regulatory solutions has been poor in both the fields of EU competition law and EU public procurement law. Moreover, the protection of the ‘public mission’ implicit in the public procurement activity led the CJEU to deform the concept of undertaking in a way that can distort EU antitrust enforcement beyond public procurement markets.
This paper assesses these issues and stresses the possibilities for a better integration of competition considerations in public procurement through the principle of competition of the 2014 Directives.