|Vol.7, No.32, 6.9.01, p5
MEPs are being urged to ensure disabled workers get a fair deal when they vote on new rules governing the €1,000-billion public procurement market.
The European Disability Forum (EDF) says authorities should be allowed to take into account the disability-friendly policies of companies when they award contracts. It suggests this should be considered with environmental factors when determining the most economically advantageous offer.
But EDF president Yannis Vardakastanis warns that unless the Parliament's legal affairs committee tables changes to plans updating existing procurement rules when it votes on 18 September, firms which invest in "well-thought-out non-discrimination schemes" risk losing out to rivals. "We believe that companies developing social practices such as the employment of disabled workers should be encouraged and not penalised when tendering for a public contract. "The inclusion of social aspects among the award criteria of a public contract will provide added value to the EU internal market, providing more and better jobs for all," he added.
EDF sources say MEPs are split over the need to insert changes to proposals tabled last May by single market chief Frits Bolkestein, with some arguing that the measures could add burdens on industry.
But they say the legal affairs committee's rapporteur, Italian centre right MEP Stefano Zappalà, shares their concerns.
The MEPs' vote will be followed by a discussion on the issue by EU single market ministers on 27 September and a debate by the full Parliament later this year. However the draft rules are only likely to enter the Union's statute books in 2002.
MEPs are being urged to ensure disabled workers get a fair deal when they vote on new rules governing the 1,000-billion euro public procurement market.
|Employment and Social Affairs, Internal Markets