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PR(03)19: Public procurement: Reasoned opinion sent to Norway regarding unequal treatment of tenderers by the Norwegian Road Administration (Statens Vegvesen)

22.7.2003

On 22 July 2003 the EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered a reasoned opinion to Norway due to that country’s failure to respect the EEA provisions on public procurement. 

The infringement concerns an award procedure initiated by the Norwegian Road Administration in 2001 for the purchase of driving licences. The EFTA Surveillance Authority began examining the case following a complaint submitted by a Norwegian undertaking.

The Authority is of the opinion that the Norwegian Road Administration infringed Article 3(1) and 3(2) of the Service Directive (Council Directive 92/50/EEC, as amended), by awarding a contract for the supply of driving licences to a tenderer whose bid did not contain the information required by the tender documents. The EFTA Surveillance Authority takes the view that accepting incomplete bids amounts to preferential treatment of the bidder having submitted the incomplete bid. The result of such actions is the discrimination of other tenderers or potential tenderers.

Article 3(1) of the Service Directive provides that the Directive shall apply to all award procedures for service contracts above a given threshold value, currently set at NOK 1,3 million for state entities such as the Norwegian Road Administration.

Article 3(2) provides that contracting authorities shall ensure that there is no discrimination between service providers.

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The main objective of the EEA public procurement provisions is to oblige contracting authorities and entities within the EEA to apply certain procedures when procuring supplies, services and works with a value exceeding given thresholds. This is in order to secure equal treatment of all suppliers, service providers and contractors established within the EEA.

The purpose of a reasoned opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. Norway has been given three months to take the necessary measures to comply with the reasoned opinion.

For further information please contact Mr Erik Eidem, Senior Officer, Internal Market Affairs Directorate, telephone (+32)(0)2 286 18 77.

22 July 2003




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