Almost one year after the two-year transition period of the EU directives on public procurement law expired, Austria published a consultation draft of the new Federal Procurement Act 2017 to implement the directives. While Austria took a somewhat conservative approach when implementing the directives, there are some areas where the Austrian draft for the transposition of the directives is significantly stricter than the directives themselves.
The Federal Administrative Court recently addressed whether the party to a winning project in a conflict procedure was entitled to claim rights in the environmental impact assessment for the inferior project. The court ruled that, on the one hand, the legal standing of a party in a conflict procedure is not strictly restricted to that procedure. On the other hand, the court found that being party to a conflict procedure does not guarantee unlimited legal standing in the approval procedure of the other project.
The regulation increasing the Procurement Act's thresholds has been extended for a further two years. Thus, contracting public authorities can continue to benefit from the significantly wider application of the direct award procedure and the so-called 'restricted procedure without prior publication' until 2018. However, contracting authorities should be aware that the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union may still require an ex ante notice for contracts of a certain cross-border interest.
The two-year transition period for implementing the new EU directives on public procurement recently lapsed. While the majority of member states have at least partially implemented the directives, Austria has yet to pass draft legislation transposing any of them. However, despite this, the directives (at least in significant parts) already apply in Austria and individuals can – either directly or indirectly – rely on the majority of the provisions therein.
The Vienna Administrative Court recently ruled on a challenge to a tender conducted by a German centralised purchasing body under German public procurement law. The court concluded that even if the German purchasing body was qualified as a centralised purchasing body, the Austrian complaints mechanism would apply, as the purchasing activities in relation to the Austrian lot were attributable to the Viennese contracting authority.
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks recently approved and made available to interested bidders the final version of the draft concession agreement for the new international airport in Kasteli, Crete. This bidding phase highlights that the Greek aviation sector is undergoing a significant transformation, one which will result in a major shift in the operation of Greek airports from the public sector to the private sector.
The Ministry of Finance has issued a regulation in order to implement provisions for the establishment of state-owned infrastructure guarantee corporations (BUPI). The regulation sets out more detailed provisions on government guarantees for infrastructure projects, as well as the nature, scope of and procedures governing such guarantees. A guarantee provided by a BUPI may cover infrastructure, political and default risks, among others.
Due to their capital-intensive nature, infrastructure projects are traditionally financed by the government; but there has recently been a shift towards public-private partnerships (PPPs) as an alternative mode of procuring infrastructure. The potential benefits of increased PPP-driven infrastructure projects include poverty reduction, job creation and economic improvements, and measures should be taken to incentivise greater participation.
Saudi Arabia is currently attempting an ambitious reorientation of its economy. The Saudi Arabian Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme 2020 comprise the most comprehensive strategy shift in Saudi Arabian economic policy since oil was found in the country. The Saudi Arabian Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme 2020 are expected to ease existing restrictions and liberate the market, in order to foster development of a domestic defence manufacturing industry.