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PR(03)18: Public procurement: Reasoned opinion sent to Norway as insufficient information is given to tenderers by Buskerud County Municipality

22.7.2003

The EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered today 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 Buskerud County Municipality (Buskerud fylkeskommune) for the purchase of school transportation services for handicapped pupils.   The EFTA Surveillance Authority began examination of the case following a complaint.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority is of the opinion that Buskerud County Municipality provided insufficient information to tenderers by stating in the invitation to tender published in the Official Journal of the European Union that only professions recognised according to the Norwegian Regulation concerning the access to the profession of passenger transport by bus or coach of 4 December 1992[1] would qualify for the contract, whereas in fact, according to the tender documents and notices published locally, other professions, such as taxi drivers, could equally qualify for the execution of the contract.   In such circumstances it is difficult to see how potential tenderers from other EEA countries not having access to local sources of information would know that they in fact could participate in the award procedure for Buskerud County Municipality’s purchase of transportation services.  Providing insufficient information, as in this case, amounts to a discrimination of tenderers form other EEA countries.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority, therefore, has concluded that Buskerud County Municipality infringed Articles 3(1) and 3(2) of the Service Directive (Council Directive 92/50/EEC, as amended).

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 2 million for local and regional authorities, such as Buskerud County Municipality.

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.

[1]Forskrift om adgang til yrket i persontrafikk med rutevogn eller med turvogn.

22 July 2003




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