Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 7

Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 7

Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 7

Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 7

Excerpt

Public procurement, that is the purchase of goods and services by public authorities and enterprises, is not, as may be supposed, a phenomenon of the modern welfare State. Indeed, the ancient Roman 'licitatio' constituted an early form of auctioning for contract bids related to, for instance, the construction of temples, aqueducts, sewers and other public utilities.1 However, procurement emerged as a regular activity of central, regional, local and communal authorities and enterprises after the formation of nation States and of their territorial and functional subdivisions.

The scope and intensity of the State's participation in the economy as manager and entrepreneur has undoubtedly increased over the years notwithstanding occasional reverse tendencies of disengagement and deregulation. Several factors have contributed to this development. Special efforts made by States to commit their financial and economic resources to the reconstruction of their devastated economies after the Second World War might be mentioned here. But there was also, more generally, a purposeful gradual shift from the limitations of the traditional concept of the liberal State towards a more active role of States in national economies including public ownership and the assumption of controlling, stimulating and steering functions in a so-called mixed economy organisation. Until recently, legal standards in international economic relations have been based exclusively on values derived from principles of market economies, i.e. in particular private ownership, competitive enterprise and free trade. However, changes in the domestic practice of States are normally reflected in the relevant international law governing the relations between them.2 In a similar way, international trade rules also follow the domestic policy in . . .

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