EU Directives and local laws in Lithuania and Latvia allow negotiated procedures without publication in cases of extreme urgency. Public procurement regulation enables public buyers to buy within a matter of days – or even hours, if necessary.
The know-how and best practice gained in emergency situations related to COVID-19 can be used for border fence procurement. At the same time, the main principles of public procurement, such as transparency, should be followed.
Joint Lithuanian–Latvian procurement can be organised
The laws allow for the institutions of different EU member states to organise a joint procurement procedure. To do this, the countries involved must establish the relevant procedures:
- by an international agreement (at the legislative level); or
- at the institutional level (at the executive level).
Both options require the same requirements to be met regarding the legality and transparency of the tendering procedures, so it is up to the decision-makers to choose the make suitable format and appoint the leading procuring authorities for each country.
The executive approach might often mean a shorter coordination period before the procurement announcement, provided that the parties involved have an underlying agreement regarding the core principles and aims of the project. Joint procurement for the Rail Baltica project is a good example of this.
Dividing procurement into lots to ensure competition
The question of dividing the planned procurement into lots is an important one, as the procuring authorities must ensure real and active competition. This means that it is unlikely that a single procurement could cover the full scope of both the Lithuanian and the Latvian national borders with Belarus.
Acquisition of EU funds to build the border fence
There is an EU regulation that establishes the instrument for financial support for border management. Therefore, the possibility exists within the framework of this project to request support to build the fence.
However, this instrument can only be used for actions in line with the rights and principles of EU law: for example, the Charter and the EU’s international obligations regarding fundamental rights. This means that the member states must observe certain standards regarding asylum seekers’ rights.
It is yet to be established whether the measures utilised on the Latvian and Lithuanian borders with Belarus correspond with the necessary standard required by international obligations.