The aim of the regulations is to ensure economical purchasing through competition. The compulsion to behave economically is necessary to ensure that tax money is used sparingly and appropriately. It is also intended to prevent the state, as a major buyer in the market, from abusing its market strength. Another objective is to open up public procurement markets in the EU through transparent and non-discriminatory procedures for all potential European bidders for public contracts.
There are different types of procurement procedures:
- The public invitation to tender (Europe-wide: the so-called open procedure), which invites an unrestricted group of companies to submit offers.
- The restricted invitation to tender (Europe-wide: the so-called restricted procedure), which provides that only a limited group of companies is invited to submit bids ).
- The third type is the negotiated award (Europe-wide: the so-called negotiated procedure), which is the only procedure that allows negotiations with the companies.
The contracting authority may choose between the public invitation to tender and the restricted invitation to tender with a call for tenders, as it organizes the potentially greatest competition. The other procedures may only be chosen under strict conditions.
A Europe-wide invitation to tender for a contract must always be issued if certain contract values are exceeded. For supply and service contracts of federal agencies, this applies from 140,000 euros, for supply and service contracts of all other contracting authorities from 215,000 euros and for construction contracts from 5.382 million euros.