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The Future for Public Sector Procurement Law in the Post-Brexit Period

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/epppl/2018/2/4

Miltiades C. Elliotis


After the UK’s momentous vote to leave the EU, in June 2016, a significant number of public sector officials, began wondering about the future of public procurement in the UK and in the EU, during the post-Brexit period. The consequences of Brexit in this area, as in many others, are in fact difficult to predict; they depend essentially on future political decisions, particularly on the UK’s relationship with the EU. What is clear is that the current procurement regulations will remain in the UK as they are, during the negotiating period , which will probably last until the end of 2019. How will procurement be regulated after that? Certainly, there will be no change in procurement regulations in the EU. What about the corresponding UK regulations? One realistic possibility is that the UK will negotiate a trade agreement with the EU that covers public procurement. Therefore, this could allow the UK to apply the EU procurement regime exactly as it is now. This means that the UK will leave the EU but still be a party to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. Consequently, there will be no change in the procurement regulations in the UK since in essence the EEA applies the same rules on public procurement as the EU does. A second option is for the UK to negotiate another type of trade arrangement with the EU which would certainly include public procurement provisions and it is possible, that these would be the same as those under EU/EEA rules. A third possibility is that the UK will not conclude any specific trade agreement with the EU but that UK trade will be based simply on commitments under the WTO agreements such as the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (GATT) that currently apply for the UK as part of the EU. A final option is for the UK not to commit to any trade agreements that constrain its strategy for regulating public procurement. This means that with this option it will be difficult to predict the final form of UK public procurement law. All these scenarios are discussed in the present work.

Miltiades C. Elliotis PhD, M.Sc., Postgraduate Dipl., Civil Engineering, Occupational Psych., Math., Ministry of Interior, European Funds Unit, Republic of Cyprus, Dep. of Math. and Statistics, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 24908, 1305 Nicosia, Cyprus. E-mail address: <mailto:melliotis@moi.gov.cy>, Tel.: +357 22409912; Fax: +357 22409948.

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