MEPs have submitted an official written question to the European Commission on fixing public procurement. They ask for clarification on how the Commission aims “to stop the publicly financed race to the bottom in terms of working conditions”.
Sixty Members of the European Parliament, from across five political groups have co-signed a written question on public procurement and decent work to the European Commission. The written question, filed by MEP Agnes Jongerius, is an official institutional process to which the EU Commission is held to provide a formal reply.
Every year, €2 trillion is spent by governments and public institutions across the EU for goods and services delivered by private corporations. This money can play a determining role in lifting working people’s conditions. Instead, this money often fuels the race to the bottom.
Currently, public procurement rules are skewed to favour price over all other considerations. UNI Europa research revealed that half of tenders in the EU are being awarded based solely on the lowest price, in compliance with the EU’s Public Procurement Directive. Under these circumstances, corporations are incentivised to undercut each other on working conditions by suppressing their workers’ fundamental collective bargaining rights.
In their request, the MEPs reference UNI Europa’s open letter to the European Commission and EU Presidencies and they urge the European Commission to respond. The open letter relays how more than 160 MEPs are calling for improvements for workers; calling for swift legislative action to ensure that no public contracts can go to companies without collective agreements.
“If only the lowest price is leading for governments when awarding public contracts, companies will drive down workers’ conditions and undermine democracy at work to win the contract. Across the EU, half of all public contracts put price above everything else, which incentivises this race to the bottom. The EU Commission must take its responsibility and fix the Public Procurement Directive to ensure this can no longer happen,” said Agnes Jongerius (S&D, the Netherlands), S&D Coordinator in the Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committee.
The written request filed by the MEPs is an official institutional process, to which the EU Commission is held to provide a formal reply. MEPs have a limited number of such written requests they can send.
“We have a critical mass of EU law-makers who are actively pushing for the EU to take its responsibilities towards working people. The fact that they use their institutional voice to push to fix public procurement illustrates their commitment to fix this pressing issue. Every day that public money is allowed to incentivise social dumping is a day when our institutions fail working people. It’s time to fix the Public Procurement Directive,” said Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa.
The written question is submitted by Agnes Jongerius and co-signed by the following MEPs (alphabetical order by last name):