The EU Commission publishes its notice providing tools on how to fight collusion in public procurement and on guidance on how to apply the related exclusion groundClick here to read the full article online
On 18 March 2021, the European Commission officially published its Notice on tools to fight collusion in public procurement and on guidance on how to apply the related exclusion ground (the ‘bid rigging exclusion guidance’). This document has been a long time in the making and officially announced almost four years ago, so it is no exaggeration to say that it was keenly awaited (by competition and procurement geeks like yours truly, at least).
The guidance is clearly addressed to contracting authorities — not economic operators — and is distinctly ‘pro exclusion’ in its minimisation of the practical difficulties and legal constraints inherent in the adoption of exclusion decisions. However, even with such clearly programmatic orientation, after a first reading, I have a few thoughts that do not make for an optimistic assessment of the guidance’s likely practical impact.