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A strategy for e-procurement

A strategy for e-procurement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A strategy for e-procurement


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Public procurement

A strategy for e-procurement

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions [COM(2012) 179 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication defines the guidelines for a strategy for e-procurement.

What are the advantages of e-procurement?

Electronic processes offer several economic advantages. They can simplify the way procurement is conducted, reduce waste (in goods, services and works), and deliver a better quality service at a lower price. They can also make life significantly simpler for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by increasing the transparency of invitations to tender, by facilitating access and by reducing the costs of bidding for contracts (postage and printing costs, etc.).

These processes make it possible to maximise the efficiency of public expenditure and to find new sources of economic growth. Organisations which have already adopted e-procurement have achieved savings between 5 and 20 %. The total procurement market in the EU is estimated at more than EUR 2,000 billion, which means that a saving of 5 % would correspond to savings of about EUR 100 billion per year.

E-procurement also contributes to protecting the environment, for example by reducing paper consumption and transport.

Electronic processes also offer easier access to public procurement contracts, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and can therefore stimulate competition, innovation and growth within the internal market.

How can e-procurement be implemented?

The European Commission plans to implement several actions for e-procurement, such as:

  • creating an effective legal framework: in December 2011, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on public procurement and a proposal for a Directive on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors. These proposals are intended to support the sharing of information and best practices, as well as a greater role for the e-Certis (DE) (EN) (FR) platform. To supplement this legislative framework, the Commission intends to improve the interoperability of electronic signature solutions and is currently revising the existing framework.
  • promoting practical solutions based on best-practices: the Commission advocates the implementation of non-legislative action, such as the installation of new generation IT technology, with the aim of simplifying and streamlining the purchase process. To this end, a group of experts is tasked with making recommendations aimed at promoting “best of breed” e-procurement solutions. The European Commission will also publish the results of a study aimed at identifying and disseminating best-practices in this field.
  • supporting the deployment of e-procurement infrastructure: the Commission has launched a pilot project called PEPPOL which aims to provide the interoperability bridges needed to connect the already existing e-procurement platforms. The Commission intends to support this project in the long term. It will also finance the development of e-procurement infrastructure through the Connecting Europe Facility, with assistance specifically from the structural funds.
  • developing a dissemination strategy: the Commission would like to inform contracting authorities and suppliers about the benefits of e-procurement. To this end, it intends to draw on the Europe Enterprise Network, as well as on the regions and cities of Europe through networking programmes such as INTERREG. The Commission will also organise an annual conference on developments in e-procurement in order to ensure the exchange of information between the stakeholders involved.
  • ensuring take-up is monitored: the development of a set of indicators is required in order to monitor the implementation of e-procurement. The Commission therefore proposes to create electronic systems to monitor procurement expenditure.
  • considering the international dimension of e-procurement: common international standards should be established in order to ensure better operability of public procurement contracts. To achieve this, the Commission intends to promote international regulatory dialogues on e-procurement. The first annual report on e-procurement will be published by mid-2013 and will detail the progress made in this area.


In the Single Market Act, the Commission expressed its wish to modernise the EU legal framework relating to public procurement contracts. The economic value of this sector is considerable: the total value of contracts governed by the current directives amounts to about EUR 447 billion. The introduction of electronic processes is expected to improve the effectiveness of public procurement contracts.

A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A paperless environment for Customs and Trade


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.


A paperless environment for Customs and Trade

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 70/2008/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 January 2008 on a paperless environment for customs and trade [Official Journal L 23/21 of 26.1.2008].


This decision is intended to promote electronic customs in the EC.


Following the Commission’s 2003 communication on creating a simple and paperless environment for customs and trade, the Commission is proposing to set up secure, integrated, interoperable and accessible electronic customs systems.

Customs systems supply pan-European e-government services which facilitate imports and exports, by reducing costs and coordinating procedures. They also provide for the exchange of data between the customs administrations of the Member States, traders and the Commission. Supply chain logistics and customs processes are thereby improved and facilitated.


If the objectives set out in the decision are to be met, it will be necessary to:

  • harmonise the exchange of information;
  • review customs processes with a view to optimising their efficiency and effectiveness;
  • offer traders a wide range of electronic customs services.

The Commission’s role

The Commission will coordinate:

  • the setting-up, testing, operation, and maintenance of the Community components of the computerised systems;
  • the systems and services set out in this proposal with other projects concerning e-government services;
  • the parallel development of national and Community elements;
  • automatic customs services and single window services at a Community level;
  • the completion of the tasks allocated to it under the multiannual strategic plan;
  • training needs.

The Commission will monitor progress with regard to the Customs Policy Group. In addition, the Commission will initiate regular consultations with the economic stakeholders concerned.

Role of the Member States

The Member States will ensure the following:

  • the setting-up, testing, operation, and maintenance of the national components of the computerised systems;
  • the coordination of the systems and services provided for in this decision with other relevant projects relating to e-government at national level;
  • the completion of the tasks allocated to them under the multiannual strategic plan;
  • the promotion and implementation at national level of electronic customs services and single window services;
  • training for officials.

Timetable for automated customs services

The decision contains a list of systems and databases and sets out the timetable for their implementation. It makes provision for single window services within six years.


The action programme for customs in the Community (Customs 2007) covers the sharing of financing for the IT projects, based on their Community or national character. Cost-sharing models shall be developed by the Member States.


The implementing measures have been updated several times. They were last updated by Regulation (EC) No 450/2008, which provides for the use of information and communication technologies by the customs administrations.

This decision is connected with the initiative on the interoperable delivery of pan-European e-government services to public administrations, businesses and citizens (IDABC); it also follows directly on from the e-Europe programme and the e-Government programme (government on-line services).


Act Entry into force Transposition Deadline for Member States Official Journal
Decision 70/2008/EC 15.2.2008 OJ L 23, 26.1.2008

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code) [Official Journal L 145, 4.6.2008].