‘Europe 2020’ and the EU Public Procurement and State Aid Rules: Good Intentions That Pave a Road to Hell?
In 2010, the European Union launched ‘Europe 2020, a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ whose goals in employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy need to be reached by 2020. Although such a project has undeniable benefits, the authors of this paper analyse the shortcomings of ‘Europe 2020’ in the field of EU public procurement rules and the latter’s interconnected relationship with State aid rules. The paper is divided into two main parts. The first part considers whether social and environmental considerations in a public tender could lead to a violation of the EU’s public procurement and/or State aid rules. The paper analyses and presents the possible ways in which social and environmental considerations may lead to discrimination, the prevention of which is one of the basic principles of EU law in general and public procurement rules in particular. Further, the authors analyse the link between public procurement and State aid rules. The second part evaluates the public procurement directives and the La Poste case to find out whether the new directives create new risks of infringing State aid rules. The paper points to the contradictions between public procurement and State aid rules. In doing so, the authors take a critical approach to the new public procurement rules and the difficult task of achieving simplification, flexibility, legal certainty, greater sustainable and inclusive growth while at the same time not jeopardising State aid rules.
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