Public procurement

The EU has detailed rules on how public procurement should be conducted. There are also various international, regional and bilateral rules and guidelines.

What are the rules in the EU market?

All public procurement procedures in the EU are carried out on the basis of national rules. For higher value contracts, these rules are based on general EU public procurement rules.

To create a level playing field for businesses across Europe, EU law sets out minimum harmonised public procurement rules. These rules govern the way public authorities and certain public utility operators purchase goods, works and services.

Within competitive tendering there are different types of public procurement procedures.

The value limits – thresholds - that mark when EU rules are used depend on the subject of the purchase, and who is making the purchase. These thresholds are revised regularly.

You can check the detailed public procurement thresholds.

For lower value tenders, only national public procurement rules apply but the general EU principles of transparency and equal treatment should be respected.

 Find the EU procurement legislation here.

 How to bid for public tenders in the EU?

  • tender opportunities are published on Tenders Electronic Daily (TED)
  • procurement documents must be accessible electronically and a link must be included in the TED notices
  • companies must submit tenders electronically
  • procuring agencies must accept electronic invoices (with some exceptions for sub-central authorities)

More details   

Public procurement markets abroad

Read about government contracts outside the EU.

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