State University of New York Institute of Technology
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EU Directives Favor Fairness Over Price

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The key point of this article is well-summarized by this statement: Under the new EU procurement directives, the federal government, states, municipalities and cities must take the total economic viability of a product into account. Before the guidelines, they were generally obliged to take the cheapest offer.

Under the new guidelines for awarding contracts, things like sustainability, environmental impact, and effect on the labor force will all be balanced with the Euro-cost of any given public project.

An objection to this new system was that the decision to award is still in the hands of an administrator, who may not understand the issues, may be willing to work only with cronys, or even be susceptible to bribes. This objection was addressed with the assurance that there were plenty of highly-qualified experts who could evaluate the project.

While it seems like a responsible move, and is definitely a step in the right direction to broaden the criteria for awarding public projects so that the total public benefit is assured, it remains to be seen whether it will work in the long run.

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