Public Procurement accounts for a very large proportion of the EU Single Market. Purchases or tendering is carried out both by individual public institutions, through semi-public sectors, and often through organisations or partnerships specialised in procurement. Both the current and the previous Public Procurement Directives stimulate purchases via purchasing groups or Central Procurement Bodies (CPB). It also encourages procurement of innovative goods and services. Despite the fact that public procurement largely is regulated by EU-legislation, it should be noted that only about 2% of public procurement takes place across borders. This percentage should increase in order to enhance competition and thereby lower the market prices.
In the preparation of tender dossier often the purchaser does not refers to standards but requires customisation of the products or services. An increased use of references to standards may give the market, in particular SME's, more clarity, transparency and thereby a better chance to respond within the timeframe of the tender. The long-term effect is less competition, higher costs and limited opportunities to test innovative solutions. An increased use of standards could, on the contrary, mean more efficient and transparent procurement processes.
This is the reason why it is important to improve the use of standards in public procurement: referencing standards can reduce costs. To achieve these goals, the development, adoption and use of relevant standards in public procurement is a prerequisite. With the aim to achieve this objective, a specific Action within the Joint Initiative on Standardisation (JIS) has been launched: