Greeks Fail To Stay In European Union Procurement

Alexis Tsipras isn't the only Greek thorn in the side of Europe at the moment; Greek ICT service provider European Dynamics (ED) has been litigating again, and, sadly for them, the European Court has said 'OXI'.

The Publications Office of the EU ran tenders for several computing services frameworks, using a cascade system to select winners. ED was unsuccessful and brought a claim. While the case obviously turned on its own facts, the judgment does read as a kind of textbook guide to common procurement litigation flashpoints, given that ED made just about every allegation in the book of procurement challenges:

  • The contracting authority chose the wrong award criteria (and confused it with selection criteria) and so the most economically advantageous tender was not in fact selected;
  • The contracting authority misapplied the award criteria and made a manifest error in how it assessed it;
  • The contracting authority breached transparency obligations by failing to disclose documents or give adequate reasons why the challenger was unsuccessful;
  • The contracting authority breached transparency obligations by introducing new award criteria that the bidders were unaware of; and
  • The contracting authority mishandled the process of seeking clarifications from bidders so a rival got an unfair advantage.

In Greece, they say ??? ????? ??? ???????????!? or, in our alphabet, Ta matia sou thekatessera!. The phrase literally means 'Your eyes fourteen!', but the closest expression in English is probably 'Keep your eyes peeled!'. Contracting authorities certainly need to make sure that their procurement processes will stand up to increasing scrutiny from potential challengers in an arena which is becoming ever more litigious. You can read the judgment here: Case T-536/11.

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