Collaborative Cross-Border Procurement in the EU: Future or Utopia?

28 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2016 Last revised: 13 May 2016

Date Written: February 18, 2016


Collaborative public procurement has been gaining traction in recent years and could be considered at the spearhead of public procurement reform and innovation. The 2014 reform of the EU public procurement rules (mainly Directive 2014/24) has expanded the tool-kit available to contracting authorities willing to engage in joint or centralised procurement activities, and in particularly in cross-border procurement collaboration. In a push forward, and as part of the Strategy for a deeper and fairer single market in its larger context, the European Commission is developing a policy to facilitate and promote cross-border collaborative public procurement in the European Union.

This paper adopts a sceptical approach and critically assesses the political, economic and in particular legal factors that can facilitate or block such development. To do so, it focuses on a case study based on a theoretical scenario of cross-border collaboration between centralised purchasing bodies in different EU Member States. The paper ultimately aims to establish a blueprint for future legal research in this area, in particular regarding the emergence of trans-EU public law.

Keywords: Collaborative procurement, joint procurement, cross-border procurement, centralised procurement, central purchasing bodies, EU law, international public law, Directive 2014/24, Article 37, Article 38, Article 39, conflicts of laws, trans-EU public law

JEL Classification: H57, H83, K23, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Sanchez-Graells, Albert, Collaborative Cross-Border Procurement in the EU: Future or Utopia? (February 18, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Albert Sanchez-Graells (Contact Author)

University of Bristol - School of Law ( email )

Wills Memorial Building
Queen's Road Clifton
Bristol, BS8 1RJ
United Kingdom


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