Finland

#18 - Kirsi-Maria Halonen (University of Lapland)

Contractual ineffectiveness in public procurement

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Interview with Kirsi-Maria Halonen, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Lapland. Kirsi worked previously for Hansel Ltd, the central purchasing body of the Finnish Government. She concluded in August 2015 her Ph.D at the University of Turku on the consequences of contractual ineffectiveness in public procurement.

 

Transcript

Let’s dive in, straight into your research, you finished your PhD last year on contractual ineffectiveness in public procurement, so could you tell us a little bit more about that research? 

Yeah, sure. So I think I wasn’t concentrating that much on the remedy of contractual ineffectiveness.  Of course I looked at the rules concerning contractual ineffectiveness as well but my focus was merely on the consequences of the remedy itself between the contracting parties, so I was interested on whether the contracting authority can be held liable towards the contractor, for example, in cases where they have infringed severely public procurement rules which have led to contractual ineffectiveness. Then I also looked at what kind of liability regimes could be applied on this kind of liability, if there is any, and what are the possible ways to manage risks of contracting authorities, is there a possibility to mitigate the damages somehow and are the rules of contributory negligence applicable to this kind of liability.

 

So what did you find?

What did I find? I think you can divide those conclusions in three parts. So firstly, I think the most important conclusion was that at least according to Finnish law, Finnish private law, the trust towards the actions, the rightfulness or lawfulness of the actions of public authorities is very strong. As the contracting authorities are the ones actually responsible to comply with the public procurement rules, and if they infringe those rules they can be held liable if the other party is not aware or should not have been aware of this infringement. So there is a certain risk for liability in these cases. And the second conclusion that I found was concerning the liability regimes. If the contract is declared ineffective there is no contractual liability available for the parties so merely the liability regimes that could be applied here are based on extra contractual liability such as principles of culpa in contrahendo or the general law on damages. And then the third part of my conclusions relate to the ways of risk management or liability mitigation so I looked at the limitation of liability clauses and whether these are considered binding and effective. Then I looked also the rules concerning contractor’s bona fide so whether or not and on what grounds we can decide on if the contractor was actually aware or should have been aware of this infringement and what effects it has on the contracting authority’s liability. Also the general rule of duty to limit your own damages is applied here and I concluded that actually EU law doesn’t prevent the application of such rules and therefore it’s based on national law whether or not these kind of rules are applied here.

 

And did you look only at Finland or did you cast a gaze as well to other jurisdictions?

Yes, my main focus was in Finland and I also conducted my research and published my dissertation in Finnish but as in Nordic legal studies often it’s done, at least in Finland, you also look at the neighbouring countries, the other Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden and Norway where the legal systems are quite similar to ours. Usually in Sweden you can find some quite interesting thoughts in the legislative preparatory works. Then I looked at France because they have a long tradition with contractual ineffectiveness. Also the other southern European countries do have similar traditions, like Spain and I believe also Portugal and Italy have a tradition of nullity of public contracts that may be ordered by a Court, which we didn’t have up in north before the rules of contractual ineffectiveness were transposed. It was interesting to find out that there was actually a previous case law also relating to procurement contracts on these kind of remedies, so that’s why France was interesting. And then I also looked at the UK a bit because there the attitude is very business oriented in a sense that there is lots of freedom for the parties to agree on things, for example, to agree on risk sharing for the event of contractual ineffectiveness which is explicitly stated in the UK’s procurement rules. This has created a lot of discussion on whether or not that kind of legislation could be possible also in other countries. So there were interesting details that I found in looking at other countries.

 

Why is the interplay between national contract law and public procurement rules important?

 Well I think it is important for the reason that without looking at things on several perspectives you are not finding true answers. So if you are looking at the consequences of contractual ineffectiveness solely from public procurement rules perspective, you are not finding a complete answer. In Finland traditionally public procurement has been viewed as a part of public law, administrative law and as an administrative procedure to choose a winner in a certain contract award. But if we are looking at the rules as an administrative procedure to choose a winner, then we don’t get the whole picture of what happens afterwards because we’re actually buying something, we’re making a commercial transaction and we’re not applying public procurement rules for the reason that we want to just comply with these rules as such but as a mean to purchase something. That’s why I think it is important to also take private law into account, meaning the contract law commercial law in general, as public procurement contract in Finland is considered as a private contract. It is utmost important from a buyer’s perspective to realise how these private law rules should be interpreted in the context of public procurement where EU law, and especially its principles, are actually limiting the interpretation which usually in private law is considered to be a freedom of the parties to agree on anything and here EU law has, and the public procurement rules have a lot to say on how to look at things.

 

I think that’s a very important point and it’s intimately connected with one of the issues that I’ve found over the years in public procurement which is that there’s a huge emphasis and focus from EU rules on the procedural part of things but when it comes down to the actual contracts, the rules that are applicable to the contract are left for the national member states.

I have not done any research on this, but this is just my gut feeling, my take on this is that in consequence economic operators find it more difficult to actually apply for contracts in other member states because they don’t know what will be the contract law that is going to be applicable to that contract. They know that in terms of residual rules they’re going to be entitled to certain rights and certain protections but even if they’re awarded a contract then they’re subject to national law.

Yes, you are absolutely right and I know that you have a background as a procurement lawyer in practice as well, as I do, so yeah, often also research in public procurement is done via the principles of EU law and the public procurement rules as such. But somehow I think it is very important to always keep in mind that this is the reality, this is actually business and we need to look at public procurement rules as a toolkit to get the best possible result. And here, as you pointed out, if we are wanting to create a single market then it should be clear for all the players at the market what are the common rules and where comes the line after which the national rules are applied. And this is not clear for me, not even in Finland, nor I think that it is necessarily clear in UK or Portugal for example, If you think about private companies, I believe that this might create some obstacles to participate for sure.

 

Yes, indeed and just by coincidence yesterday I was watching a programme on Euronews about the strategy by the commission for the digital single market and one of the actual legs of that particular stool that the commission wants to set up was to uniform or have some sort of harmonisation at least for contract law that is applicable to cross border online contracts. And if you think about it in general, online contracts or online contracts for consumers, involve very low amounts of money so if the commission understands that for that specific sector it makes sense to uniform or at least harmonise contract law. Why aren’t we thinking about the same for public procurement?

Oh that’s a very good question and I, unfortunately I don’t have the answer to that question but I think that that could really speed up the progress of opening the borders in public procurement. One other thing that comes to my mind relating the differences of contract laws in different countries is the binding effect of an offer. So basically there are different rules in different countries on the binding effect: a company submitting an offer to a contract award in Spain might be able to cancel it if it wants to but in Finland I am not able to cancel a bid after it has been opened. In Finland actually according to the basic contract law rules, not though in public procurement anymore, a contract is considered concluded when the offer is accepted but already before this moment the offer itself is binding and it can lead to similar consequences, similar liability issues as if you would cancel a contract.

 

That's a common discussion in contract law in various jurisdictions which is each jurisdiction has defined its own way of interpreting the moment when the contract is formalised, so is this acceptance or the sending of the offer, if the offer contains all the necessary elements, so on and so forth. But again in the field of public procurement that is one of the areas that’s perhaps at a level we have not spent enough energy and attention in trying in sort and solve. On that note what do you think should be done at a level in the future that we could consider to be a potential solution for the differences that we are finding in the treatment of contractual ineffectiveness in public procurement in the various member states?

 Well I think it is important that EU public procurements rules don’t go too far in limiting the applicability of national public or private contract law or national public procurement rules, but at the same time we should have some clarity on which rules or on what aspects EU law are applicable. So that could help the national systems to develop their own legislation and argumentation relating thereto and to provide similar results even though the legal systems behind these rules are quite different. So I would want to know what are the actual conditions of liability for example in certain issues. I would also like to know whether EU law is actually giving any protection to ex-contractors when the contract is considered ineffective. I think now the European Commission’s point of view is that there is no protection provided towards ex-contractors because they have participated in the infringement even though they wouldn’t be aware of the infringement but it is assumed that they must have been aware of it. I think there are questions concerning remedies and then there is also a question of clarity so that the companies involved could really know what are the conditions of liability and what is the proof they need to provide in this context? So it wouldn’t always be a matter of national law to interpret, it’s according to their own principle. But as an answer to your question, I think there are several small things that could be developed but I’m not saying that something should be done or something shouldn’t be done but at least we should know what are the exact rules that are applied.  It is a bit ambiguous at the moment where goes the line between EU law and national rules? But, at the same time, this is very interesting from a researcher’s point of view, so if we bring here too much clarity then probably I need to get another hobby.

 

Do you reckon that in a future review of the remedies directive perhaps we’ll see something along those lines or do you reckon it’s not going to happen?

I think maybe, though I think now it’s all about principle of effectiveness, especially the length of judicial procedure that is on the table. I still think that EU legislators are not that worried on the parties of the contract, the ex-contractors and their rights, as the interest is focused on removing unlawful or infringing decisions and bringing back the contract to the markets which is what the remedies are mainly designed for. The main focus lies on the remedies for those who have suffered from contracting authority’s infringement and not the rights of those who have been part of it. I think those companies are not going to get a lot of support in the remedies directive in future either..

 

I think it’s a shame because as we were saying before, if you don’t tackle some of the outstanding differences in terms of contract law, in terms of consequences, I feel that uncertainty, the uncertainty that is generated by these different systems, actually probably deters economic operators from participating in the first place and obviously if they don’t participate they cannot win the contracts in other jurisdictions, in other member states. So I think it’s a shame that the discussion is still very much focused on what I would call formalistic approaches to remedies, saying “Oh do you have access to the Courts and only the Courts and nothing else, do the Courts decide quickly enough?” That is important but at the end of the day that is only one part of the discussion.

Yes, yeah, yeah, for sure, I agree with that.

 

But we are where we are.  

Hmm.

 

Speaking about research and speaking about interest, you spent a lot of time over the last few years looking at this interplay between public procurement and contract law, looking at the contractual ineffectiveness in public procurement, where do you want to focus your research going forward?  

Well as you said, I have been quite involved in public procurement and private law matters, I really like it, so I don’t plan to entirely abandon it but lately I have been more and more interested on the requirement of transparency, quite classical subject I would say. But as a broader phenomenon combining lots of different goals and objectives, maybe controversial towards each other, either fighting corruption, securing the access to remedies in a public procurement process and at the same time its potential adverse effects on creation of innovations as a commercial interest protection issue. And perhaps we will see an empirical research relating to these aspects during the few years. And I’m also currently discussing with different multidisciplinary research groups, one of the potential projects that we’re planning on is on looking at Finnish corruption, especially in public procurement in more detail and another one is relating to creation of innovations. So hopefully these projects will go forward and I’m also very anxiously waiting to hear what the European Commission is planning for the new Remedies Directive because that is something, the remedies I mean that I have always been interested at so probably I will look at that as well when we have more information on what are the changes to be made in future.

 

Well I think that’s a great way to finish the programme. Thank you very much Kirsi.  

Thank you Pedro.

#5 - Andrea Sundstrand (Stockholm University)

How do we deal with cross-border interest in public procurement? (I)

andreasundstrand

Interview with Dr. Andrea Sundstrand from Stockholm University. In addition to her academic career, Andrea is an expert lawyer in public procurement and has published extensively over the years. One of her most recent projects is the Procurement Law Journal, the first academic journal on the area published in the Nordic countries. Some of the articles are published in English and are available in open access. Her experience with the journal was one of the topics of our discussion in addition to the issue of cross-border interest in public procurement.

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Transcript

The topic of today is very close to my heart. We will be talking about cross-border interests in public procurement. I think that you have a lot of important and interesting points to raise and I believe that our next half an hour is going to very useful for people trying to understand exactly where the boundaries lie in terms of public procurement today?

Yes, I think so too.

So let’s start with the cross-border interest tests, why do you think it’s important and why should we bring attention to this almost arcane area of EU public procurement law?

Well it’s interesting because the primary law which was actually there from the beginning only regulates dealings between member states, since the EU doesn’t really think that things that only concern one member state is any concern of the EU. So for having EU laws you have to have some kind of cross-border effect and that really doesn’t matter if it’s public procurement or competition law or other kind of regulations, it has to be some kind of interaction between member states for the EU to be interested in regulating those areas. So when they looked at public procurement they said “well maybe we need some more detailed regulations than the ones in the primary law so we’ll adopt directives of public procurement”. And then of course in the directives we have these thresholds and for the longest time everybody thought that “well as long as a procurement is above the thresholds it’s covered by EU law, but when it’s below the thresholds well it’s up to the member states to decide”. And I think what nobody realised until the European Court of Justice said so is that actually some of the procurements below the thresholds could be covered by primary law since they could have an interest, suppliers from other member states. So I think this was a surprise to a lot of, both contracting authorities and suppliers that even smaller contracts actually could be covered by EU law.

By "thresholds" you mean "financial thresholds", am I correct?

Yes. The financial thresholds set, are set out in the directives so it’s like 200,000 Euros for suppliers and services for example.

But that’s a very interesting trade-off, above a certain value those financial thresholds, contracts are deemed to have cross-border interests and as such are regulated by the directives, but if those contracts have a value that is lower than the threshold then you need to apply the cross-border interest test?

Yes. And I think as I said for the longest time people didn’t realise that, they thought so to speak that the thresholds was the cross-border test, that as long as it was below the thresholds they wouldn’t actually have to bother with EU law at all, you could just use national regulations. But now since we have a couple of cases, several now from the EU Court saying that isn’t really the case because even a smaller contract could be of interest to suppliers in other member states. For example if the contracting authority is situated very close to a border or if it’s a contract where it’s normally you would get offers from other countries even though it is a small value, maybe for specific goods that are easily shipped between the member states and so on. So we have a couple of cases saying what we should look at to consider if the contract has the cross-border interests or not.

And what’s your view on that?

Well it doesn’t make it easier of course for contracting authorities to decide what rules to apply. If I take the example from Sweden we have an easier situation than you have in England because in Sweden we have regulated also contracts below the threshold rather rigorously and for example the general principles of EU primary law also apply down to the very first Swedish Crown where you buy something. So for us it’s not that big a difference really but in other countries like in Denmark where they don’t actually have any regulations on public procurement below the thresholds this would be kind of a problem because then you wouldn’t really know what rules apply to these cross-border interest procurements that are below the thresholds.

Speaking of member states as far as I know, well England, Wales and Northern Ireland they’re starting to regulate contracts below the thresholds without explicit referral to the EU primary law. I have also heard recently that Greece in one of its many reforms that it has done recently has also effectively decided to apply the regime of the directives almost from the start in terms of value instead of above the financial thresholds. What do you think is the best option for the member state?

I don’t know. I know that in Sweden we have decided to regulate more or less down to 50,000 Euros and the reason is that we think that it’s important also for below threshold procurement which is in Sweden about 80% of all procurement to be put out to competition because if contracting authorities in the north of Sweden only buy from suppliers in the north of Sweden and vice versa in the south of Sweden, our best and most cost efficient companies wouldn’t be able to grow and win contracts if we limited the market. So even below thresholds as I said it’s about 80% of all procurement, in Sweden we consider that, that’s such a big market and so much money that it’s important to put it out to competition but as long as there’s no cross-border interest this would of course be up to the individual member state to decide. I was actually working with the OECD a couple of years ago and we made a survey to look at all member states and how they have regulated their procurement below the threshold for B services and most of them have actually had put in place some kind of regulations and rules for procurement also below the thresholds and that survey is actually published on their website.

But those countries that actually regulate contracts below the thresholds do not necessarily apply EU primary law, that is to say for example they may advertise a contract in the national website but they are under no obligation of treating potential suppliers equally irrespective of where they’re based as they are above the thresholds, unless of course they actually turn out to the contract?

Well that’s the problem because if there is a contract below the threshold with no cross-border interest the member states are free to choose. They don’t really have to regulate it at all. They can buy from their friends or from their relatives or whatever the member states decide. But if you have a contract below the thresholds with the cross-border interest, primary law actually regulates those contracts and as the European Court of Justice has said for example that means that a contract has to be put out to competition, you have to have a certain contracting document, you have to treat everybody equal and so on because the general principles are applicable to those contracts.

Is it not true that one of the biggest difficulties of using the cross-border interest below the threshold is actually to define in advance and with to degree of certainty and security that a contract will generate cross-border interest?

Absolutely. And that is the whole problem and that was something that the member states thought they had solved I think by putting these thresholds into place, that okay below member states decide, above follow EU law. But now we suddenly have another threshold that we don’t really know when it is, so each contracting authority has to make a decision in advance would this contract be of interest to suppliers from other member states and that is of course a very difficult decision to make. But I guess you have to look at how did the contract attract foreign suppliers the last time we put it out to competition and such things to decide on an individual basis, but of course this is difficult.

Yeah but by default the contracting authorities will do what costs them less or fewer transaction costs so they’re going to say “well if I can get away without advertising this and without trying to ensure that we’re going to have international competition, I’m just going to think that we’re not going to have international competition and for example go directly for a direct award of a contract”. If that happened it’s pretty much impossible in most circumstances for anyone to know that a) a contract was available, was potentially available, and b) that perhaps it could have had cross-border interest?

Yes. And the interesting thing is that if you have a contact with, below the thresholds but with a cross-border interest the member states have to put efficient remedies into place for aggrieved suppliers since this is considered, to be able to participate in such contracts or such competitions are considered to be a right according to the EU law for each member or each individual in the EU. So I can take an example from Sweden, we have not put into place any remedies for service concessions and this is the same thing as contracts below the thresholds because they are both regulated only by primary law so far, and where actually had letters now from the commission saying “why didn’t you do this because this is a right for each individual to participate and be treated fairly in a service concession with a cross-border interest?” And Sweden has answered something like “well we know we haven’t done that, we should have done it but by April of 2016 we’re going to have this new law so with concessions in place”. But the commissions answer to that has been for like six months ago that “well that isn’t enough because you haven’t done it now” and I don’t think Sweden has answered that yet but there’s obviously big risk that we will actually end up in the European Court of Justice for the first time actually, we have managed to stay away from there so far. And that is the same thing with procurements below the thresholds with a cross-border interest, that actually the member states have to, they have to put into place efficient remedies for aggrieved suppliers. So even if it would be difficult to prove in a Court, you still have to have the possibility to go to Court even for those contracts and I think most member states do not have any remedies in place for those contracts.

That’s very interesting because in fact I remember seeing an opinion somewhere that the remedy system for example in England, Wales and Northern Ireland effectively only was applicable for contracts above the thresholds?

Yes. So that would actually be against EU law since you have to have for all…

I agree with you. So it appears that we have a very strange system in place, above certain financial thresholds contracts are subject to the full might of EU regulation, below financial thresholds they may or may not be subject to EU law but only to primary law, a little bit like Schrödinger's cat it appears that the contracts may be or not subject to such regulation. What could be done to improve the situation and make it easier both for contracting authorities and suppliers to understand the system?

Well that’s a good question. I wish I could answer. I really don’t know. I think your answer would be to lower the thresholds and maybe that is mine also because if there is contracts with cross-border interest then of course they should be covered by the directives because that’s the whole idea with the directives to cover those contracts that are of cross-border interest between the member states, to cover those. And if there are contracts falling outside well that is not good because that would be very confusing for contracting authorities to know what rules to apply. But I really don’t know otherwise because I think there will always be contracts not covered, very low value and so on, or at the north of Sweden where the cost to deliver something from abroad would be too high and so on. So you have to have some separation between these two contracts where the member states must be able to choose themselves if they want to regulate or not but exactly how to do that, that’s difficult and I really don’t have any good ideas for now.

Okay. Moving on. You’ve done a lot of research in cross-border interest over the last few years, where are your interests now lying in these days?

Well I am working at the Stockholm University a lot trying to teach public procurement students and actually getting the topic of public procurement up on the agenda for several universities in Sweden. We have been so far behind both Denmark and England who have several universities that specialise in these questions, in Sweden we’re just at the beginning so that’s what I’m doing. And also looking at different things constantly on public procurement and doing articles, writing out articles and different books on public procurement in general. So this is a full-time task since there is so much happening in this area right now.

Okay. So let me rephrase the question, where do you think our focus should be in terms of public procurement in the near future?

Do you mean ours as researchers?

Yes, or where should the rules change or where should be improved in general?

That’s a big question! I think there are a lot of rules that could be improved and I think it’s always difficult when you have twenty-eight member states deciding new rules. So I think in the coming two or three years our focus both as practitioners and as researchers will be just to try to understand the new rules coming and to try to figure out what they actually mean in practice. Because there’s one thing to be in Brussels with twenty-eight member states to decide rules, totally different thing is for the contracting authorities in the north of Sweden actually trying to apply these rules. So I think that will be the focus for the coming years.

So you think that the focus is going to be into training and in improving the skills of public procurers and also people that work with the rules in practice?

Very much practice because now the big legislation package are soon coming into place, the lawyer’s task now will be to try to explain these rules to the practitioners I think.

Okay, very well. I’ve got one final topic that I would like us to cover which is your new Procurement Law Journal?

Yes.

You started it in 2014, it’s in the second year, how is it going?

It’s going very well and I’m so pleased because nobody believed in it, not even the publishers believed in it. But two weeks ago they actually took me out to buy me champagne lunch just to celebrate because now it’s actually we have so many subscribers I don’t have to pay for it myself anymore which is nice. And we have both the Swedish government, Swedish parliament and the Swedish High Administrative Court are subscribers and it has had already by the third issue ever a great impact on public procurement legislation in Sweden and I’m very happy about this. And we have a lot of researchers who wants to write articles so it’s very interesting to see or I’m very happy to see that my feeling that this would be, this would cover something that was missing earlier, I’m very happy to see that that was actually true.

Could you tell us a little bit more about the experience of setting up a journal and running it?

Well actually it’s much more easy than you think. The difficult thing is to get people to write articles and we’ve succeeded pretty well so far. It’s not very difficult, it’s just that it takes a lot of time of course. Each issue we have four articles and I’m also very proud that one of the articles always is written by a student, so a student who has written a very good Master thesis rewrites the thesis into an article and I think that’s good because then you make sure that also young lawyers are interested in public procurement law. Some articles are written in English, I hope to get one from you soon.

I know, I know!

And those articles we publish open access on our webpage which is with the address urt.cc, so you can actually already today go in and read the articles in English. The Swedish articles you would have to subscribe to be able to find on the internet.

Is there any plans to making those Swedish articles available further down the line maybe in English in open access as well or do you think they’re always going to remain behind your subscription service?

I think that’s a matter of cost actually. I wouldn’t mind translating them into English because they are on general EU law also so that will be interesting also for lawyers in other countries but it’s so far a question of funding. So we will have to make sure first that the printing cost because all the people working with this journal we all do it pro-bono so we don’t get paid so our costs are the printing costs and the cost of sending the journal to the subscribers and of course the cost for paying for the website, and those costs we have now covered. If we are going to get more money or have some kind of profit I would firstly thinking about giving maybe scholarships to talented students but maybe now you say it that could be a good idea also if we do have some profit in the future that we could actually translate some of the Swedish articles into English.

That is certainly an area where I could see some value because there’s a lot that each jurisdiction produces in its native language, I mean I’ve seen it all over the place in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, and certainly Sweden is not going to be different. But there’s not a lot that is being published and disseminated about a specific jurisdiction in English?

Yeah, I know and I agree with you, it’s a shame. I really would like to read articles from Spain, how did they do it there, different issues they are fighting with, maybe we have the same problems in Sweden and we can help each other solve these problems and of course for me it’s a problem then if the articles are in Spanish or Italian which I don’t know. Maybe we could set up a translation service together?

There are a few online already that are quite cheap.

Okay. You have to tip me off?

I will after the show. Very well, last question. What sets your journal apart from the existing ones? I mean there’s already quite a few journals in public procurement?

The first idea was that this journal would focus on the situation for the Nordic and Baltic countries and we’re also in the Board, in the Legal Board we have researchers both from Estonia and Finland and Denmark and hopefully eventually from Norway and Iceland also. So our goal was to focus on the specific problems of the northern countries. Of course it turns out now I read a couple of these articles that these are often problems we have with the legislation in all member states, so that was our main thing. So what makes this journal so special? I think that we are very focused on practical issues so we like to look at how the law actually works in practice, maybe that is something that I hope that we can help so that the researchers can help practitioners how to interpret the rules and thereby how to use the legislation for doing great public procurements.

Could you give us an example of the cross-pollination in the different Nordic states is happening via the journal? I think it’s a great idea that you’re bringing together researchers and practitioners from other jurisdictions and countries but how is that working?

Well it’s working fine. The first thing of course is that we have articles not just from Swedish researchers but also from researchers from Denmark and Estonia, we’re going to have an article from someone from Finland in the next issue and so on, so I’m really happy about that. But also we are, in 2014 we had a first conference with the journal where we invited researchers from all of these countries and hopefully we can have this conference, like a Nordic public procurement conference once every year or once every two years so we can come together and help each other with public procurement issues. So if we have someone doing research in Estonia maybe we can use that research also in Sweden and contribute to Swedish legislation also.

Thank you very much Andrea. It was a pleasure to have you.

Thank you. Pleasure to talk to you.

You can find me at my blog telles.eu or on Twitter where I use two handles, @Detig for general discussion and also @publicprocure for procurement related topics. As ever I’m very grateful to the British Academy and to the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Awards to make possible these podcasts.