Gist of the opinion
The EESC believes that opening-up of the public procurement systems of all countries to international trade under the Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO GPA) is beneficial.
The EESC believes that the EU must increase negotiating power to improve access to third countries' public markets, in line with its primary and secondary legislation, given that the EU has opened up over 80% of its public markets while the other major developed economies have only opened up 20% of theirs.
The EESC strongly urges the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission to ensure more effective, strategic defence of the EU's interests in the area of access to public markets both internally and internationally.
The EESC believes that there should be a level playing field for contracting enterprises, based on reciprocity with third country enterprises that respect the key principles of international public procurement.
The EESC recommends that EU internal market legislators and EU international negotiators in the area of international public procurement, be consistent and aware of the potential reciprocal effects of their activities.
The EESC feels it is essential to set in motion systematic monitoring of the consistency between the results of bilateral and multilateral negotiations carried out by the Commission with authorisation from the Member States and the ensuing full, genuine implementation by the Member States of the measures adopted.
The EESC calls for swift adoption of the announced Market Access Scheme for Procurement – MASP, with clear, transparent, tried and tested mechanisms for reciprocal opening-up of markets to ensure symmetrical access to public markets, adapting the 2004 public procurement package accordingly.
The EESC calls for the approach based on prevention and an "early warning" system for projects and/or new third country regulations which are restrictive in the area of procurement to be beefed up, with a view to identifying potential barriers and condemning them internationally right from the start.