In its series of notices on the legal and practical implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the European Commission published in January a notice to stakeholders on EU rules in the field of public procurement.
According to the Institute for Government, UK public sector procurement spend in 2015 exceeded £260 billion - around 14% of GDP - as part of a total public procurement market in the EU of £1.5 trillion.
As the notice explains, the consequences of exit from the EU are far from clear in view of the ongoing negotiations on a withdrawal agreement and any transitional arrangements put in place. However, the notice does remind us of the need for the private and third sectors to prepare for withdrawal.
Unsurprisingly, the notice paints a rather bleak picture of exit for UK organisations, as the UK will have third country status which means that economic operators from the UK could be excluded from EU utility procurements following exit. EU member states also have a right to exclude third country organisations from participating in defence and security procurements.
Although the note is limited in coverage, it is a stark reminder of the uncertainties that remain. In the meantime, we will continue to follow the developments in the withdrawal process for clarity on the legal repercussions of withdrawal and the consequences for public procurement procedures in the UK.
If you have any questions about the EU rules in the field of public procurement, please get in touch with Craig Griffiths in our public law team.
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