Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


Letter from the Chairman to The Rt Hon Clare Short MP, Secretary of State, Department for International Development

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated 4 December 2002 which Sub-Committee C considered at its meeting today. The Committee have agreed to clear this item, but would be grateful if you would provide the following information.

    —  What scope is there in the procurement directives to ensure aid is not tied?

    —  How vigorously is the Commission likely to police the directives in this context?

  I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

19 December 2002

Letter from Clare Short, Secretary of State, to the Chairman

  Your Committee met on 19 December 2002 and discussed the "Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament untying: `Enhancing the Effectiveness of Aid'".

  In your letter of 19 December your committee agreed to clear this document from scrutiny and have asked for further information on two points.

  On the first, use of the procurement directives will ensure aid is no longer tied to individual member states' domestic supplies. The Commission Communication confirms that the procurement directives require publicly funded contracting opportunities above the threshold value (currently equal to £100,410) to be publicly advertised and open to competition from firms in the member states and member countries of the European Economic Area and the Europe Agreement. This has the practical effect of untying member states' bilateral aid programmes within Europe—but only within Europe—which is not full untying.

  Second, enforcement of the Directives is a matter for the Internal Market Directorate. We judge they are indeed taking this seriously, as evidenced by recent action against Denmark and Italy for infraction.

12 January 2003

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