New paper: Public procurement financial thresholds in the EU and their relationship with the GPA

I have just uploaded to my SSRN repository a new paper which will be published later this year in the European Procurement and Public Private Partnership Law Review (EPPPL). The paper is focused on the relationship between the EU procurement thresholds and the GPA, arguing that the current threshold levels are arbitrary and effectively set by the EU's GPA commitments. Here's the abstract:

The regulation of procurement within the European Union is binary: above certain financial thresholds, contracts are subject to full EU regulation, whereas below they are only subject to national rules (in general). First introduced in the 1970s, the financial thresholds are arbitrary without a clear justification for their specific values. Thresholds remained fairly stable in nominal terms and over the years became solely dependent on the commitments assumed in the various revisions of multilateral procurement agreements, currently the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) 2014. In consequence, the external market access commitments accepted by the EU in the GPA determine today the size of public procurement internal market.

While it is true that inflation and currency fluctuations have progressively reduced the real term value of thresholds, no proactive reductions have been undertaken by EU lawmakers, contrary to what was done with trade tariffs. In consequence, current threshold levels do not reflect any productivity improvements or transaction cost reductions achieved during the last 40 years. By remaining stable in nominal and changing only due to external pressures and inflation inertia, the thresholds have effectively functioned as a ceiling and a floor to the concept of internal market in public procurement within the EU.

This is the second paper of my "thresholds trilogy", with the first one focusing on cross-border interest for contracts below-thresholds (also available on SSRN). I am currently drafting the third one which will argue that we should make do with thresholds altogether or else we will never complete the internal market.