Impossible dialogue on EU #publicprocurement reform? Council and Parliament follow parallel roads

I may be about to show how naive I am, but I have just astonishingly discovered that the EU Institutions in charge of discussing the European Commission's 2011 Proposal for a new general Directive on public procurement are working in parallel and do not seem to be talking to each other at all.

While the Council has been negotiating intensely and trying to find a compromise and common position for over a year (the most recently publicly available compromise text is dated 2 October 2012), the European Parliament's Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection has been looking at the 2011 Proposal independently and has published a Report that includes several hundred amendments to the original proposal (dated 11 January 2013). So far so good. Everybody seems to be doing its homework.

What is astonishing and a proof of the weak governance mechanisms in the EU Institutions is that the European Parliament's IMCO Committee has not incorporated the changes negotiated between Member States at the Council (which were disclosed, at least, on 24 July 2012 and again in the latest October 2012 compromise text). 

At this point, when the Council and the EU Parliament's representatives meet to discuss the amendments each institution wants to make on the Commission's 2011 Proposal, they will simply be speaking different languages. In some cases, the EU Parliament has proposals that concern articles the Council wants completely eliminated. Reversely, the Council has managed to reach a compromise on articles the Parliament wants to suppress. And all other types of inconsistent proposals can be found in both rather lengthy documents. It is plain to see that a first effort will need to be made to focus the terms of the discussion and work on a single basis text (which seems likely to be the one prepared by the Council, in my opinion). Therefore, waste of time and energies is sadly guaranteed.

In this situation, it is hard to anticipate that the new Directive can be adopted in early 2013 (which would already be a delay on the initial goal of having it published in the OJ by the end of 2012) and that it can be fully effective any time before 2016. Moreover, it is hard to see how such a scattered and uncoordinated legislative process can lead to a consistent and coherent final text--which imperfections can only be magnified at transposition stage, particularly if Member States use any ambiguities to include their preferred policy options.

All in all, I guess I am just puzzled by the fact that two institutions that have to cooperate in the adoption of new legislation can work in such a parallel and disconnected manner. Again, this just probably shows how naive I am. Or maybe it is an indicator that the system does not really work...