Serbia: Round Table on „Law on Public Procurement in the Light of the New EU Directive“

The Autonomous Trade Union of Road Maintenance Workers of Serbia, ATURMW, initiated a round table on the topic „Law on Public Procurement in the Light of the New EU Directive on Public Procurement to be adopted during the second quarter of 2017. The event was organised within the BWI project for South East Europe, together with the Serbian Road Association „Via Vita“, Association of Employers in the Road Construction and Maintenance „Putar“ and independent experts on the 1st of December 2015.

Among the union speakers, Werner Buelen, EFBWW, explained the new EU Directive and especially stressed on the introduction of social aspects and the importance of the MEAT criterion.

It was jointly noted that all the participants in the public procurement process, especially the contracting authorities, do not apply the possibilities and provisions that would be beneficial to the local companies, and to the local economy as a whole. The participants especially stressed the manipulations related to the additional requirements for the participation in the public procurement procedure that favor a particular bidder, as well as the violations related to the usage of the lowest price criterion (the lowest bid).

In addition, the participants stressed the problem of subcontractors which endangers the local economy, the quality of work and workers’ rights, and the problems related to the so called joint bids and inefficiency of the Republic Committee for the protection of rights in the public procurement procedures.

The participants believe that the authorized bodies, which control the implementation of the Law have to work more efficiently with the aim of providing the real advantage for the companies that respect workers rights, as well as to eliminate the damage that is made by manipulation with the use of the lowest price criterion and violation of the ability to demand additional requirements. Such a change of behavior has to be provided especially when a state or state bodies and institutions are participating in the PP procedure.

Moreover, the participants believe that with the new Law and in accordance with the policy of EU accession and opening of Chapter 5 that deals with public procurement, the weaknesses in the implementation of the existing legislation in this field should be considered, as well as the legal provisions that allowed for the bad practice, in order to improve the conditions, in the interest of the local economy and the workers.

Finally, participants would like to see in the procedure the inclusion of additional requirements which regulate that a work may be awarded only to the companies that regularly pay workers salaries and contributions for a mandatory social insurance otherwise the contracting authority would be authorized to cancel the contract, or to cease payments until the obligations are settled. For these rules to be efficiently applied to all, it is necessary to amend the Law.

It was agreed that objections and suggestions regarding its application and amendments should be submitted to the Government of the Republic of Serbia.

Among the participants were representatives from the Ministry of Construction, Traffic and Infrastructure, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour – Directorate for Health and Safety, Public enterprise „Roads of Serbia“, independent experts, professional association, employers’ association, union and media.