The European Union, composed of the Member States and the European Commission, is the world’s biggest aid donor. The global budget commitments at end of 2008 reached highest-ever levels, at €4.4 billion. Combined with European Development Fund commitments and AIDCO committed a record €9.3 billion was realised. The Commission’s EuropeAid co-operation office manages EU external aid programmes and ensures that development assistance is delivered worldwide. EuropeAid implements programmes and projects around the world, wherever assistance is needed. It delivers support through regional and country-specific approaches across a variety of sectors.
Within the various External Cooperation Programmes of the European Union there are regularly procurement cases of vehicles from various types. According to the online tender service of the EU External Aid office in 2009 there were issued about 19 tenders explicitly referring to vehicle procurement (some other tenders for large integrated development project does also include vehicle procurement component), with an estimated value of 5 mill EUR (about 110 vehicles, mostly off-road vehicles, pick ups and minibuses as well as about 270 motorcycles). The vehicles are delivered mostly to African countries, some in Middle America and Eastern Europe.
In principle directive 2009-33-EC (clean vehicle directive) refers to all contracting authorities procuring under Directive 2004/17/EC and Directive 2004/18/EC including External Aid provisions of the European Commission which are directed under the so called “Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Union”. According to this environmental matters should where possible be duly considered when awarding contracts. This could e.g. include more environmental-friendly terms of reference/guidelines/specifications, increased use of electronic means, reduction in paper consumption (recto/verso prints) etc. A specific guideline for defining technical specification on vehicle procurement for External Action. Standard or benchmarks for vehicle selection however are only indicatively mentioned. So far, the environmental performance of vehicles is not considered as a hard award criteria and the past procurement cases show that clean vehicle procurement is not sufficiently considered.
The roles for public procurement of any External Aid provision of the European Commission are defined within the “Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Union” (Title V: PROCUREMENT). Article 97(2) of the Financial Regulation implementation rules set out that contract should be awarded on the basis of best value for money which includes also considerations on the environmental characteristics of a service or supplied good.
So far, non joint procurement initiatives for clean vehicles were undertaken by External Aid Cooperation Programmes.
Webpage of the European External Cooperation Programmes
WWW based tender search engine of the European External Cooperation Programmes