Regulation 23 transposes Article 23 of the Directive 2014/24/EU, stating that any reference to nomenclatures within public procurement should be referred to the Common Procurement vocabulary (CPV) codes.
CPV codes themselves are set by Regulation (EC) 2195/2002 and the Commission is free to revise them from time to time. The most recent set is from 2008. CPV codes are standardise across the whole EU and that is why they are published as a Regulation. Each CPV code is individual and identifies the work, good or service being procured.
CPV codes have a bad reputation especially with smaller suppliers. They are overly technical and can be overpowering for the unweary. More often than they appear to be splitting hairs between categories but their usefulness cannot be understated. By standardising contracts in a common language that any in the EU can understand, they facilitate cross-border procurement and make life easier for suppliers only interested in knowing about a specific contract type by providing accurate information about what is being procured.
Regulation 23 CPV code obligation only valid for contracts covered by Part 2 of the Regulations. For the remaining contracts, contracting authorities can do without them. However, it is quite common to see CPV codes attributed to contracts below-thresholds. For example, this small water testing contract is well below-thresholds and the contracting authority decided to include the appropriate CPV code nonetheless.