IT accord worries EU suppliers

The bureaucratic image of the European Union’s institutions has in the past left cynical observers seeing only costs rather than benefits.

But in the technology arena the EU is trying hard to dispel this image and, like most commercial IT directors, is working hard to advance its use of IT, even while cutting costs.

The three main European Union institutions: the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers are increasingly synchronising their technology choices for hardware, software and maintenance support.

But each institution has different IT needs and the trend towards joint tendering and purchasing has received a mixed reaction from suppliers, who still have to deal with three different bodies.

The three institutions are so large that it is very difficult to synchronise their technologies, said a Parliament spokesperson. “The Parliament has enough problems setting up its own tenders, never mind handling joint ones,” he said.

Synchronising technologies will bring benefits such as opportunities to use ready-made applications developed by other institutions. But in chasing value for money, the EU institutions may find joint tendering more costly for themselves and their suppliers than they bargained for.

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