Toast to Fair Trade in Public Procurement

15 January 2014 (Strasbourg) -The new EU public procurement rules voted today make it easy to buy fair. EU Commissioner Michel Barnier and key Members of the European Parliament celebrated this good news for Fair Trade.

The new EU public procurement Directive was voted today by a large majority of Members of the European Parliament, after a political agreement reached with the Council of Ministers. The vote puts an end to the revision procedure initiated three years ago by the European Commission. Public authorities across Europe will be able henceforth to make a deliberate choice for Fair Trade products, besides taking into account other sustainability considerations. The new law confirms the direction set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the “North Holland” case ruling (Commission vs Netherlands C‑368/10), which for the first time clarified that public contracts can award additional points to products “of fair trade origin”. The possibility to consider social aspects alongside environmental ones is a step forward from the existing rules. Furthermore, the new Directive explicitly allows referring to robust certification schemes as a proof of compliance with the sustainability requirements set out in call for tenders.

To celebrate the good outcome for Fair Trade, the Fair Trade Working Group in the European Parliament organised a drink with fairly-traded sparkling wine right after the vote and clinked glasses with EU Commissioner Michel Barnier and leading Members of the European Parliament from various political groups. "I have always said I believe in open borders. But trade has to be both free and fair. The two words must go together. That is the condition for successful and accepted globalisation which is genuinely in the interest of all, and in particular the poorest. The Fair Trade working group does extremely useful work in this area, promoting these policies and I fully support Linda McAvan and her team's tireless work in this area”, stated the Commissioner.

Read more at FairTradeAdvocacy.org