Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Opportunities for Wisconsin companies in water, energy and beyond.

Every year, over 250,000 public authorities in the EU spend around 14 percent of the EU’s GDP on the purchase of services, works and supplies. In many sectors such as energy, transportation, waste management, social protection and the provision of health or education services, public authorities are the principal buyers. In order to create a level playing field for businesses, the EU law sets out minimum, harmonized public procurement rules, which are translated into national legislation and apply to tenders whose monetary value exceeds the following amounts:

Type of Contract / Threshold
Public works / €5.2 million ($5.8 million)
Service contracts / €209,000 ($230,000)
Supplies contracts / €209,000 ($230,000)
Supplies and services in the sectors of water, energy and transportation / €418,000 ($460,000)
Other contracts falling under the procurement agreements / €135,000 ($150,000)

Not only European companies but also U.S.-based companies may apply, although partnering with a European company increases chances. For tenders of lower value than the thresholds, national rules apply, which nevertheless must respect the general principles of EU law.

For projects that meet or exceed the financial threshold, a contract notice must be published in Supplement S of the Official Journal of the European Union. This information is available immediately on the web from Tenders Electronic Daily (TED, http://ted.europa.eu/TED/main/HomePage.do). Every Tuesday through Saturday, an average of 1,700 new public procurement notices are published daily on this platform in the 24 official EU languages. All notices from the EU's institutions are published in full in these languages. Different types of procedures such as the open, restricted and competitive dialogue procedures are offered. In the section “TED eTendering,” procurement notices can be browsed, searched and sorted by country, region, business sector and more. Details of each tender are described in a “document library” section. The application period is usually 1.5 to two months long. Registration on the portal allows subscribers to be updated about new tenders and changes made to published ones.

Once the application period closes, bids are assessed and either the lowest-cost or most economically advantageous tender is chosen. The contract award must also be reported in the Official Journal of the European Union and published electronically on TED. Since all tenders submitted within the set deadline are to be treated equally, Wisconsin companies with highly innovative and advantageous products from sectors such as water technology and energy supply can use TED as a platform for business in Europe.