Help! Where’s the good news in Europe?

  • By John Chudleigh
  • 29 May, 2012

Tired of the media’s daily output of economic gloom with the light at the end of the tunnel ebbing further away? Courage! As they might say en français – please read on.

First, let’s look at the basic facts. We’re told the EU represents conservatively about 40% of the UK’s trade and that the EU’s public spending constitutes nearly 20% of its GDP. Somewhere in there is a hidden figure showing not only how much of that 40% is made up of public spending exports but also the potential to further develop this market.

If you’re tuned into the ticker tape despondency that the news media dish up every second of every minute, you would think this is the last place to find any glimmer of hope given that not only does Europe seem a busted flush but also that the austerity school is still in the ascendency, driving for huge cuts in public spending in many countries. This however is only part of the story in Europe’s complex and disparate economic landscape with tantalising areas of growth in some countries.

These countries represent not only half of the OJEU’s tender volume but also 44% of its GDP, counterbalancing the shrinkage elsewhere in the previous quarter.

With the exception of Greece, many countries showed positive signs of growth, i.e. not unsustainable public tendering growth with tailspin GDP contraction, but underpinned with GDP growth too.

The Hellenics seemingly spat out their bitter medicine whilst Matron Merkel’s back was turned, counter-intuitively defying the laws of Economics (not Politics!) by increasing the volume (value unknown) of tenders published in the last quarter compared with the same period last year by a staggering 41%. By comparison, the European average was 2% and for the UK -13%, yes minus 13% (see graph below). Using an appropriate Greek word, it is a heroic achievement by anyone’s standards.

So now for the potentially good news… (Cue Alan Freeman Hit Parade theme music!)

Northern Exposure

The Nordics with the exception of Iceland represent not only 9% of Europe’s GDP but also tendering activity and combined with GDP growth across the region at a conservative 1% should not be dismissed. English is commonly spoken and Norway, a member of the European Economic Area is an active participant in OJEU tendering with output comparable to the Netherlands. Uniquely in Europe and probably the world, their public savings exceed their public debts by 160% according to the IMF (i.e. they have lots of money!), and they publish all their tenders in English.  One of the ironies of not being in the EU but the EEA is that Norwegian isn’t an official EU language and English is their default tendering language.

New Europe

It’s the EU’s relative neophytes who, using Donald Rumsfeld’s (remember him?) post 9/11 emotive polemics are outpacing ‘old Europe’. Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and even in the wild east Bulgaria and Romania. Collectively they may only represent 7% of Europe’s GDP, but they are all growing economies (Latvia & Estonia 3% & Romania Bulgaria & the Czech Republic 2%).

The increase in tendering activity between these two Q1 periods was high in Estonia 32% and Bulgaria 38% but most notable were the Czech Republic and Slovakia where growth doubled (see chart) compared with the same quarter in 2011 and supported with GDP growth.

At the moment these are only tasters with maybe some statistical aberrations, but they cannot all be dismissed and for the discerning bidder, looking beyond these shores, need to be taken note of. We will return to this area in future blogs.

The EU institutions (e.g. the Commission, European Development Fund etc.) are included in the comparison chart below separately because with its own budgets, they accounted for 1.4% of all OJEU procurement activity last year, higher than 12 of the studied countries.

Tender & procurement news - keep up to date with the latest news to help you win public sector tenders

By John Chudleigh 18 Nov, 2017

Scape Group has published details of its £2bn civil engineering and infrastructure framework.

A Prior Information Notice for the Scape National Framework, which will run for four years from October next year, has been published.

The framework will include a total lot value of £1.6bn in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and a £400M lot specifically for the public sector in Scotland.An OJEU Contract Notice will be published in January next year.
By John Chudleigh 29 Sep, 2017

The European Commission will next month unveil a new tool for sharing of good practices to improve the compliance and quality of public procurement across the EU.

It hopes the e-Library will offer a number of tangible benefits from the sharing of good practices in the area of public procurement such as improved efficiency and effectiveness, and better value-for-money.

By John Chudleigh 02 Sep, 2017

More than half of the contracts awarded by the UK government in 2015 were worth at least €100m, despite Whitehall efforts to boost the involvement of small- and medium-sized businesses in public procurement, according to a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

The low-tax campaign group found that Whitehall is vastly more dependent on large public contracts – which tend to be scooped up by outsourcing giants such as Serco, Capita and G4S – than any other EU country.

By John Chudleigh 02 Feb, 2017
Ten national contracts for the provision of procurement services have been advertised by the Department of Health worth £1900m

By John Chudleigh 22 Oct, 2016

The UK’s recent decision to leave the EU will not only have profound implications for it & EU but also for the wider world in terms of global trade.

 To address this, the Centre of European Law King’s College London is hosting a series of evening seminars @ £20 each, examining these issues and the likely options resulting from the outcome of whatever legal settlement is negotiated between the UK the EU at some unspecified point in the future. These will include The Swiss Model*, WTO, State Aid and Public Procurement amongst others, over the next six months.

 To quote the Centre for European Law ‘an outstanding array’ of King’s College’ expertise will conduct these seminars over this academic year ‘covering twelve different areas of law on which Brexit is likely to have an impact’.

 The full details of these and registration links are available at:

 Topics already covered by recent open lectures were ‘Opening Transatlantic Markets’ and ‘After Brexit: is the EEA an option for the UK?’ Details of some conference materials are available to download at:

 Whether a legal professional or not, if you are interested in gaining a better insight on the implications these huge legal and constitutional changes will have on you and your company, inside or outside the single market, these seminars are to be recommended.

 *Already presented.

By John Chudleigh 30 Sep, 2016
Brexit means Brexit’, so chimed the somewhat circular and cleverly obfuscated reassurance from the UK’s new PM Theresa May in her attempts to reassure both the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative party and 17.4M (52%) of citizens voting to leave the EU on that momentous day June 23 2016. Since no one knows what Brexit really means other than the invocation of the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 50 and the UK being outside of the EU, this statement is an Oxymoron since it is both committal and non-committal. 
Paraphrasing  a rediscovered World War II poster, we phlegmatic Brits will ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ because like The Eagles’ Hotel California, although we can check out (of the EU) anytime we like, maybe, just maybe, we can never leave?

Senior partner, John Chudleigh has shared a personal perspective on Brexit with the European affairsblog  readers - read the full article here:
By John Chudleigh 16 Sep, 2016
What are the implications of BREXIT on procurement practice and the relationship between procurement policy guidance and consultation best practice .? Read full article here:
By John Chudleigh 02 Sep, 2016

 Will the UK use it’s membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the European Economic Area (EEA) as potential platforms for negotiating  the new UK-EU trade relationship?.

Read the full article by Ana Bobic and Josephine van Zeben

By John Chudleigh 12 Aug, 2016
The current expectation is that the UK will not give notice in 2016 and the whole of the two year period will be needed to negotiate the exit provisions, therefore, in practice the British exit (Brexit) date cannot be before January 2019

For the time being, the rules apply as they always have done. The key thing to consider now is whether any contracts are affected by European Commission grants and/or State aid and determine what effect Brexit will have on that funding. Another key consideration is whether long term government projects that are currently being procured will rely on free movement (of people or goods), and, if so, what contractual provisions could be inserted to provide for a scenario where there is no free movement.

Read the full article by Victoria Moorcroft here..
By John Chudleigh 31 Jul, 2016

A pre-commercial procurement tender covers R&D services relevant to the design, development and pilot use of a platform to support hybrid cloud environments. The HNSciCloud pre-commercial procurement project is funded by ten of Europe’s top research organisations and by the European Commission.

There will be a Tender Information Day hosted by CERN in Geneva, Switzerland on 7 September.

Read the full article by Antony Savvas at:

More Posts
Share by: