Increasing space for unfair competition from the public sector in procurement markets ~ What now?


Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in the Scottish Competition Forum discussion on 'Unfair competition from the public sector in commercial markets'. In my presentation (slides below), I concentrated on the increasing space that recent reforms in EU public procurement law have created for situations of potential unfair competition and crowding out of private economic initiative by the commercial activities of the public sector, in particular in small markets.

The discussions at SCF indicated that there is scope (and need) for additional regulation ensuring competitive neutrality where "arms' length" organisations (such as in-house entities, vehicles for public-public cooperation, or central purchasing bodies) engage in economic activities in competition with the private sector. This is along the lines of the work that my co-author Dr Ignacio Herrera Anchustegui and I have been carrying out concerning the submission of these entities (in particular, central purchasing bodies) to competition rules -- see here and here.

This is also in line with some of the insights resulting from other discussions in a recent event organised by the Finnish Procurement Association, on which I plan to blog soon. Keep an eye on this space if you are interested in the emerging challenges derived from increased marketisation / commercialisation of the activities of instrumental entities carrying out procurement.