Nicolaj Villumsen, a Member of the European Parliament, has written to the European Commission. In a formal parliamentary question, he asks what steps the Commission is taking to ensure that it only buys from decent work companies.
The Commission itself spends vast amounts on goods and services provided by private companies. In his question, Villumsen asks how it is ensuring that these companies respect democracy at work by having collective bargaining agreements with their workers. Parliamentary questions are a formal EU process to which the Commission is required to answer.
The full question is:
The Commission claims that it aims to ‘encourage Member States to use public tenders to achieve positive social impact’.
Every year, the Commission itself spends considerable funds on public procurement, partly through the decentralised agencies. According to Tenders Electronic Daily, the Commission awarded tenders for over EUR 22 billion in 2020, Parliament for EUR 1 billion and the EU agencies for roughly EUR 7.5 billion.
The EU agencies’ public procurement practices could be powerful tools for leading by example and boosting social public procurement, more specifically in terms of collective bargaining and democracy at work in the Member States.
1. What steps will the Commission take to lead by example by making the award of public contracts from EU agencies conditional on engagement in collective bargaining and active respect for democracy at work?
2. Does the Commission intend to reconsider its current rules and strategy on social public procurement in order to stop the publicly financed race to the bottom in terms of working conditions?
3. Does the Commission agree that public money should always procure decent work?