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The mandates of some former European MPs have stimulated legislative endeavours by Community authorities. Long sought-after rules for public contracts and concessions, and audits of financial statements, were finalized and adopted in the first months of 2014.

The European Parliament managed to discuss and pass to the Council many fairly substantial proposals across all industries, such as competition, trademarks, personal data protection, staff secondment, as well as stricter AML rules, and capital market regulations and policies.

New EU Rules for Public Contracts

The major goal of the new public contract directives was to update outdated rules. One of many important new features is the literally breakthrough rule for dividing contracts into parts. Not only is this now desirable, it will be mandatory in some cases. However, if a public contract awarding authority does not split the contract it will have to justify its decision in the contract documentation. This policy is aimed at increasing the involvement of small and medium sized business. Moreover, subcontractors should be able to request the contract awarding authority to pay for consummated subcontracts.

The Directive introduces major changes to how bids are evaluated: the current trend of looking at the overall economy takes into account not only the acquisition costs but the overall lifecycle costs, including energy efficiency, maintenance costs, pollutant disposal costs and environmental discarding costs. There is also a special emphasis on supporting innovations in a new type of proceedings: innovation partnerships, where a contract awarding procedure can be opened to resolve a particular problem.

The awarding procedure should be streamlined thanks to broader opportunities to discuss and negotiate the bids, primarily by means of negotiated procedures or competition dialogues. There are also endeavours to reduce the administrative burden. Moreover, proving one’s qualifications should also be easier, with the bidders’ affidavits playing a bigger role, and the public awarding procedure should gradually be made fully electronic. The opportunity to modify concluded agreements or assign additional work is to be substantially extended, as well.

What is important for Czech contract awarding authorities and bidders alike is how the EU legislation is to be transposed into Czech law. The Ministry for Regional Development has already commenced working on the new Public Contracts Act, which should take force on 1 January 2016.

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