The new Directive on Concessions is basically unnecessary, but creates red tape, duplication & legal uncertainty (Dir 2014/23)

I have been working on the preparation of a commentary to the first part of the new Directive 2014/23 on the award of concession contracts [OJ L 94, 28/03/2014, p. 1–64] and have realised that, unfortunately, it has indeed become a basically unnecessary piece of EU legislation that creates significant red tape and muddles an already complicated area of EU Economic Law.

Unfortunately, as I anticipated [What Need and Logic for a New Directive on Concessions, Particularly Regarding the Issue of Their Economic Balance? (2012) European Procurement & Public Private Partnership Law Review 2/2012: pp. 94-104], most of the general provisions of Directive 2014/23 are a copy (or a 'Frankenstein copy') of provisions already available in other procurement Directives and, mainly, in Directive 2014/24 on public sector procurement. Such a duplication makes me think that the EU legislator would indeed have been better off by just including a limited set of specific provisions dealing with concession contracts within Directive 2014/24. By not doing so, it has created unnecessary duplication and complication.

As clear evidence of the basic unnecessity of Directive 2014/23, suffice it to stress that only 10 of its first 29 articles include specific rules for concession contracts (and, only 5 articles of those 10 are exclusively relevant for concession contracts, while the other 5 are slight modifications of general rules). All other articles are simply a repetition of provisions of other Directives. The table below clarifies this assessment. Hopefully Member States will take this significant duplication into account and will adopt a sensible (unified) approach in the transposition of Directives 2014/23, 2014/24 and 2014/25 to their domestic legal systems before April 2016, avoiding unnecessary repetitions.