Study - Optimising permitting procedures to enhance EU competitiveness

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is planning to launch a procurement procedure for a study on Optimising permitting procedures to enhance EU competitiveness.



This announcement is made pursuant to Annex I.14 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, to award a low value contract for a study as a result of a negotiated procurement procedure. It is published ahead of the procurement procedure with basic information on the subject matter of the contract, to give economic operators the possibility to express interest in participating as tenderers in the subsequent procurement procedure.



At present, there is a lack of systematic thinking about competitiveness at the European level. Businesses are struggling under the weight of new legislation that primarily pursues objectives other than improving competitiveness and that adds to the excessive cumulative burden imposed on them in recent years[1]. Formal permit procedures for construction and industrial operations, together with the hiring of staff from third countries, are important parts of the problem.

Today, permitting procedures, especially environmental permits, take far too long and often end with an outcome which is to the detriment not only for the company in question, but with negative effects for the whole economy and for the EU's green transition. In fact, unrealistic targets and detailed requirements imposed by both EU and national regulations often paradoxically impede the pace of the green transition, rather than accelerating it.

Sometimes it is due to complex rules, often to slow procedures with too many administrations involved at different levels, and in other cases due to the fact that permitting authorities are not adequately staffed and/or lack sufficient digital resources to process applications efficiently. All this means projects get delayed for far too long with permitting costs adding to development costs and risk which deters investors.

Purpose of the study and main tasks to be performed

The purpose of this study is to examine the challenges that companies in the European Union encounter when obtaining permits and how these difficulties impact the EU's economic competitiveness, as well as its green and digital transitions. The study should provide specific examples of how EU and national legislation impede competitiveness and hinder economic growth, also when compared to its primary rivals, the US and China, and point to best practices for optimisation where they exist.

The study should build on the assessment of case studies of companies, through interviews with business representatives and open sources in at least seven different EU countries and across at least five sectors, as well as a quantitative analysis of data on time and costs associated with permit applications. It should also analyse how different permitting processes lead to different outcomes, such as the number of permits issued and the types of permits issued. It is, for instance, important to give examples where permitting procedures are excessively time-consuming and where the outcome is unjustifiably unbalanced, and provide reasons for this.

Finally, the study should develop policy recommendations to improve permitting processes in order to improve the overall investment and business conditions in Europe, increase competitiveness, create more jobs and promote sustainable growth. The results of the study are planned to be used as a basis for EU actions that could shape the future and improve the EU's competitiveness in the coming decade, and contribute to the ongoing debate on ensuring simplified and fast-track permitting, under the Net-Zero Industry Act of the Green Deal Industrial Plan, as well as any related future initiatives.

Languages/geographical area

The study should be conducted in English. As a minimum, it should cover Sweden, Finland, Spain, France, Germany, Latvia and Croatia, and should examine, in particular, the situation in industry, mining, construction, agriculture and the financial sectors.

Indicative timeline

  1. Launch of the invitation to tender: March-April 2023.
  2. Contract award: 2nd quarter 2023.
  3. The final study report is expected within 6 months following the signature of the contract.
  4. Deadline for submission of tenders: approximately April-May 2023.


Participation is open on equal terms to all natural and legal persons established in the European Union (EU) or in a third country which has a special agreement with the EU in the field of public procurement on the conditions laid down in that agreement. This includes:

  • All EU Member States;
  • Parties to special international agreements with the EU in the field of public procurement:
    • European Economic Area agreement (EEA): Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein;
    • Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA): North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.


Entities established in a country that has access to the procurement can express interest in participating in the planned procedure by filling in and submitting the contact form (see link at the bottom of this page).


By submitting your contact details, you consent to the EESC processing this personal data in line with this Privacy Statement. To access, change or delete your data at any moment, please contact the data controller by sending an email to


Please note that this announcement does not create any obligation for the EESC to launch a procurement procedure. The EESC will take the submitted information into account only to identify potential candidates. Expressing interest to participate in this type of negotiated procedure does not create any legal right or legitimate expectation on the part of any economic operator, and the EESC has the right to cancel the procedure at any time. The documents of the actual call for tenders (invitation letter, tender specifications and draft contract) will only be provided to the identified candidates when the procedure is launched, and any tender received from a legal or natural person not invited to tender will be rejected.


Expressions of interest in participating or requests for further information should be sent via the following contact form


Tuesday, March 21, 2023 - 17:00