On 20 December 2011, the European Commission officially announced its proposals for the new procurement directives. The proposed amendments could significantly frustrate the adoption and subsequent introduction of the Procurement Act, however.

The European Commission’s proposals for the revision of the procurement directives (2004/18/EC and 2004/17/EC) primarily aim to make procurement procedures simpler and more flexible. Sustainability and social aspects of government contracts also play a major role in the proposals for the revisions. Although this development in itself should be applauded, it could significantly frustrate and delay the introduction of the Procurement Act.

On Tuesday, 8 November 2011, we wrote here that the introduction of the Procurement Act had been delayed once again. The reason for this was that a majority in the Dutch House of Representatives had found that the Procurement Act needed to be more tailored to the SMEs and that more attention had to be devoted to the Proportionality Guide. With the revisions of the European procurement directives, the Netherlands must not only consider the new Procurement Act, but also the proposed revisions to the European procurement directives.

The logical question therefore is whether it is wise to further discuss and introduce the legislative proposal for the Procurement Act in its current form. After all, there is a chance that the Procurement Act will soon be outdated if, after it takes effect, agreement is reached on the proposed revisions of the European procurement directives for which the Procurement Act does not provide at that point.

The Dutch legislator would be wise to already adapt the Procurement Act as much as possible in anticipation of the future European developments. This will most likely frustrate or at least once again delay the process of adopting and then introducing the Procurement Act.

Tom Oudenhoven