Social goals via public contracts in the EU: a new deal?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of the public procurement market as a means for obtaining wider community benefits is quite common in the European and national frameworks. The European directives on public procurement not only confirm but even such a integrated approach. The main novelty introduced by the new Public Procurement (PP) directives lies, undoubtedly, in the the key role that has been assigned to Buying Sustainable Approaches (BSAs) and the reliance that has been placed on public procurement procedures and contracts to achieve horizontal objectives. A broader European public contracts market (embracing social services and PPPs too), a wider range of horizontal objectives that can be incorporated into tender procedures (at any stage), the clear preference for BSAs linked to specific legal obligations and/or administrative provisions and the consequent key role assigned to Member States to regulate relevant goals, related obligations and MBAs, the provision of more flexible and adaptable procedures, a sticter interconnection between the different stages of the tender procedure, the significant role of past non performance: all these measures can be considered part of the new deal EU law aims to promote via public contracts. To the cost-effectiveness of the European integrated strategy and its contract-centered scenario, regulatory efforts aiming at both harmonizing BSAs legislative framework (starting from the setting out of goals and connected obligations) and tender documentation and contract design are success keys. This brings into play a wide set of legal instruments (including soft regulation ones) and a wide list of actors (other than States and their legislative branches). Only in such a synergic and multi-level horizon, the flexibility which has been boosted by the 2014 european directives on public procurement can sail in calm waters and ensure that key high impact social goals are achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1154
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • anticorruption
  • competition
  • concorrenza
  • contratti pubblici
  • environmental protection
  • fini sociali
  • market
  • mercato
  • prevenzione della corruzione
  • public contracts
  • social goals
  • tutela dell'ambiente


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