Skanderborg, 14th. of April 2011
Danish Water and Waste Water Association, DANVA, would like to contribute to the consultation. Our comments regard question 2 and 11.
DANVA wish to suggest that the Utilities Directive (2004/17) also includes waste water utilities.
Right now the directive affects entities/utilities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sector. We see this as a historic determined fact - meaning that it is very hard today to find objective arguments for not including waste water utilities in directive 2004/17.
Since 1971 where we got the first procurement directives things have changed a lot in the member states in regard to the way waste water treatment is organized, operated etc. Waste water handling was apparently generally seen as a part of environmental law activities, which was taken care of by an authority just as the operation of national parks etc. Today the decision makers look at waste water utilities as they look at utilities in the water and energy sector. Waste water utilities have to be professional, innovative, consumer oriented and focusing on economy and quality.
The organization and ownership of waste water utilities vary a lot all over Europe; some are integrated in the municipalities, others are legal entities (ex. limited companies) owned by a public authority and furthermore there some private and private/public owned waste water utilities.
The two first mentioned groups with close relations to public authorities are included in directive 2004/18 (public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts).
But please note that waste water activities taking place in one and the same legal entity as water supply activities - are included by the Utilities Directive. Water supply utilities are by the way always covered by the Utilities Directive.
The procedures are more flexible in the Utilities Directive; for example the right to negotiation. Another positive thing is that the threshold in the Utilities Directive are much higher than in directive 2004/18.
So altogether DANVA suggests that the European Commission in the coming work with the modernization of EU public procurement law search the possibilities for the waste water utilities to be included in directive 2004/17 (the Utilities Directive).