European Parliament legislative resolution of 21 June 2007 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC with regard to improving the effectiveness of review procedures concerning the award of public contracts (COM(2006)0195 C6-0141/2006 2006/0066(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament ,

   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2006)0195)(1) ,

   having regard to Article 251(2) and Article 95 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0141/2006),

   having regard to Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

   having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A6-0172/2007),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

(1)

Not yet published in OJ.

 

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 21 June 2007 with a view to the adoption of Directive 2007/.../EC of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC with regard to improving the effectiveness of review procedures concerning the award of public contracts (1)

P6_TC1-COD(2006)0066

(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 95 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission(2) ,

Having regard to the Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(3) ,

Having regard to the Opinion of the Committee of the Regions(4) ,

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(5) ,

Whereas:

(1)  Council Directive 89/665/EEC of 21 December 1989 on the coordination of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the application of review procedures to the award of public supply and public works contracts(6) and Council Directive 92/13/EEC of 25 February 1992 coordinating the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the application of Community rules on the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and telecommunications sectors(7) concern the review procedures with regard to contracts awarded by contracting authorities as referred to in Article 1(9) of Directive 2004/18/EC and contracting entities as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2004/17/EC respectively . Those Directives are intended to ensure the effective application of .. Directives .. 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts(8) and .. 2004/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 coordinating the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors(9) .

These Directives therefore apply only to contracts falling within the scope of Directive 2004/18/EC and Directive 2004/17/EC as interpreted by the Court of Justice whatever competitive procedure or means of calling for competition is used, including design contests, qualification systems and dynamic purchasing systems. According to the rulings of the Court of Justice the Member States should ensure that effective and rapid remedies are available against decisions taken by contracting authorities and contracting entities as to whether a particular contract falls within the personal and material scope of Directives 2004/18/EC and 2004/17/EC.

(3 )  Consultations of the interested parties and the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities have revealed a certain number of weaknesses in the review mechanisms in the Member States. Because of these weaknesses the mechanisms referred to by Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC do not always make it possible to ensure compliance with Community provisions, especially at a time when infringements can still be corrected. Consequently, the .. guarantees of transparency and non-discrimination sought by those Directives should be strengthened to ensure that the Community as a whole .. fully benefits from the positive effects of the modernisation and simplification of the rules on public procurement, which were achieved by Directives 2004/18/EC and 2004/17/EC. Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC should thus be amended by adding the essential clarifications which will allow the results intended by the Community legislature to be attained.

(4 )  The weaknesses which were noted include in particular the absence of a period allowing an effective review between the decision to award a contract and the conclusion of the contract in question. This sometimes results in contracting authorities and contracting entities wishing to make irreversible the consequences of the disputed award decision to proceed very quickly to the signature of the contract . In order to remedy this weakness which is a serious obstacle to effective judicial protection for the .. tenderers concerned, i.e. those who have not yet been definitively excluded , it is necessary to provide for a minimum standstill period during which the conclusion of the contract in question is suspended, irrespective of whether conclusion occurs at the time of the signing of the contract or not.

(5 )   The duration of the minimum standstill period should take into account the different means of communication. If rapid means of communication are used, a shorter period can be provided for than if other means of communication are used. This Directive only provides for minimum standstill periods. Member States are free to introduce or to maintain periods which exceed those minimum periods. Member States are also free to decide which period should apply, if different means of communication are used cumulatively.

(6 )   The standstill period should give the tenderers concerned sufficient time to examine the contract award decision and to assess whether it is appropriate to initiate a review procedure. When the award decision is notified to them, the tenderers concerned should be given the relevant information which is essential for them to seek effective review. The same applies accordingly to candidates to the extent that the contracting authority or contracting entity has not made available in due time information about the rejection of their application. Such relevant information includes in particular, in the form of a summary, the reasons as laid down in Article 49 of Directive 2004/17/EC and Article 41 of 2004/18/EC respectively. As the duration of the standstill period varies from one Member State to another, it is also important that the tenderers and candidates concerned should be informed of the effective period available to them to bring their review proceedings.

(7 )  This type of minimum standstill period is not intended to apply if Directive 2004/17/EC or Directive 2004/18/EC does not require prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, in particular in all cases of extreme urgency as provided for in Article 31(1)(c) of Directive 2004/18/EC or Article 40(3)(d) of Directive 2004/17/EC. In those cases it is sufficient to provide for effective review procedures after the conclusion of the contract. Similarly, a standstill period is not necessary if the only tenderer concerned is the one who is awarded the contract and there are no candidates concerned. In this case there is no other person remaining in the tendering procedure with an interest in receiving the notification and benefiting from the standstill period to allow for an effective review . Finally, in cases of contracts based on a framework agreement or a dynamic purchasing system, a mandatory standstill period could have an impact on the efficiency gains intended with these tendering procedures. Member States may therefore, instead of introducing a mandatory standstill period, provide for ineffectiveness as an effective sanction in accordance with Article 2e(1) to (5) for infringements of Article 32(4), second indent of the second subparagraph and Article 33(5) and (6) of Directive 2004/18/EC and of Article 15(5) and (6) of Directive 2004/17/EC. In cases referred to in Article 40(3)(i) of Directive 2004/17/EC, contracts based on a framework agreement do not require prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union. In those cases a standstill period is not mandatory.

(8 )   When a Member State requires a person intending to use a review procedure to inform the contracting authority or contracting entity of that intention, it is necessary to make it clear that this should not affect the standstill period or any other period to apply for a review. Furthermore, when a Member State requires that the person concerned has first of all sought a review with the contracting authority or contracting entity, it is necessary that this person has a reasonable minimum period within which to refer to the competent review body before the conclusion of the contract, in the event of his wishing to challenge the reply or lack of reply from the contracting authority or contracting entity.

(8)  ..

(9)  ..

(9 )  Seeking a review shortly before the end of the minimum standstill period should not have the effect of depriving the body responsible for review procedures of the minimum time needed to act, in particular to extend the standstill period for the conclusion of the contract. It is thus necessary to provide for an independent minimum standstill period that should not end before the review body has taken a decision on the application. This should not prevent the review body from making a prior assessment of whether the review as such is admissible. Member States may provide that this period will end either when the review body has taken a decision on the application for interim measures, including on a further suspension of the contract, or when the review body has taken a decision on the merits of the case, in particular on the application for the setting aside of unlawful decisions .

(11)  ..

(12)  ..

(10 )  In order to .. combat .. the illegal direct award of contracts, which the Court of Justice has called the most serious breach of Community law in the field of public procurement on the part of a contracting authority or contracting entity , there should be provision for an effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanction. Therefore a contract resulting from an illegal direct award should be considered ineffective in principle. The ineffectiveness should not be automatic but should be ascertained by or should be the result of a decision by an independent review body. Ineffectiveness is the most effective way to restore competition and to create new business opportunities for those economic operators which have been deprived illegally of their opportunities to compete. Direct awards in that sense should include all contract awards without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union within the meaning of Directive 2004/18/EC. This corresponds to a procedure without prior call for competition within the meaning of Directive 2004/17/EC. Possible justifications for a direct award within the meaning of this Directive may include the exemptions in Articles 10 to 18 of Directive 2004/18/EC, the application of Article 31, Article 61 or Article 68 of Directive 2004/18/EC, the award of a service contract in accordance with Article 21 of Directive 2004/18/EC or a lawful "in-house" contract award as interpreted by the Court of Justice. The same applies to contracts which meet the conditions for an exclusion or special arrangements in accordance with Article 5(2), Articles 18 to 27, Articles 29 to 30 or Article 62 of Directive 2004/17/EC, to cases involving the application of Article 40(3) of Directive 2004/17/EC or to the award of a service contract in accordance with Article 32 of Directive 2004/17/EC. A review procedure should be available at least to any person having or having had an interest in obtaining a particular contract and who has been or risks being harmed by an alleged infringement.

In order to prevent the serious infringements of the standstill obligation and the automatic suspension, which are prerequisites for effective review, effective sanctions should apply. Contracts that are concluded in breach of the standstill period or the automatic suspension should therefore be considered ineffective in principle if they are combined with infringements of Directive 2004/18/EC or Directive 2004/17/EC to the extent that these infringements have affected the chances of the tenderer applying for a review to obtain the contract. In the case of other infringements of formal requirements Member States might consider the principle of ineffectiveness to be inappropriate. In those cases Member States should have the flexibility to provide for alternative penalties. Alternative penalties should only be the imposition of fines which should be paid to a body independent of the contracting authority or a shortening of the duration of the contract. It is for Member States to determine the details of alternative penalties and the rules of their application. This Directive does not exclude the application of stricter sanctions according to national law.

The objective to be achieved where Member States lay down the rules which ensure that a contract shall be considered ineffective is that the rights and obligations of the parties under the contract should cease to be enforced and performed. The consequences resulting of a contract being considered ineffective should be determined by national law. National law may therefore, for example, provide for the retroactive cancellation of all contractual obligations (ex tunc) or conversely limit the scope of the cancellation to those obligations which would still have to be performed (ex nunc). This should not lead to the absence of forceful penalties if the obligations deriving from a contract have already been fulfilled either entirely or almost entirely. In such cases Member States should provide for alternative penalties, taking into account the extent to which a contract remains in force in accordance with national law. Similarly, the consequences concerning the possible recovery of any sums which may have been paid as well as all other forms of possible restitution - including restitution in value where restitution in kind is not possible are to be determined by national law.

(13 )  However, in order to ensure the .. proportionality of the sanctions applied, the Member States may give the body responsible for review procedures the possibility of not jeopardising the contract or of recognising some or all of its temporal effects, when the exceptional circumstances of the case concerned require certain overriding reasons relating to a general interest to be respected. In those cases alternative penalties should be applied instead. The review body independent of the contracting authority or contracting entity should examine all relevant aspects in order to establish whether overriding reasons relating to a general interest require that the effects of the contract should be maintained. In exceptional cases the use of the negotiated procedure without publication of a contract notice within the meaning of Article 31 of Directive 2004/18/EC or Article 40 (3) of Directive 2004/17/EC would be permitted immediately after the cancellation of the contract. If in those cases, for technical or other compelling reasons, the remaining contractual obligations can, at that stage, only be performed by the economic operator which has been awarded the contract, the application of overriding reasons might be justified. Economic interests in the effectiveness of a contract may only be considered as overriding reasons if in exceptional circumstances ineffectiveness would lead to disproportionate consequences. However, economic interests directly linked to the contract concerned should not constitute overriding reasons. Furthermore, the need to ensure over time the legal certainty of the decisions taken by contracting authorities and contracting entities requires the establishment of a reasonable minimum period of limitation on reviews seeking to establish that the contract is ineffective and to ensure that consequences follow from that.

In order to avoid legal uncertainty which may result from ineffectiveness, Member States should provide for an exemption from any finding of ineffectiveness also in cases where the contracting authority or contracting entity considers that the direct award of any contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal is permissible in accordance with Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC and has applied a minimum standstill period allowing for effective remedies. The voluntary publication which triggers this standstill period does not imply any extension of obligations deriving from Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC.

As this Directive strengthens the national review procedures especially in cases of an illegal direct award, economic operators should be encouraged to make use of these new mechanisms. For reasons of legal certainty the enforceability of the ineffectiveness of a contract is limited to a certain period. The effectiveness of these time limits should be respected.

(16 )  Strengthening the effectiveness of national reviews thanks to this Directive should encourage those concerned to make greater use of the possibilities for review .. by way of interlocutory procedure before the conclusion of a contract . In those circumstances, the corrective mechanism should be refocused on the serious infringements of Community provisions on public procurement .. .

(17 )  The voluntary attestation system provided for by Directive 92/13/EC, whereby contracting entities have the possibility of having the conformity of their award procedures established through periodic examinations, has been virtually unused ... It cannot thus achieve its objective of preventing a significant number of infringements of Community law on public procurement. On the other hand, the requirement imposed on Member States by Directive 92/13/EEC to ensure the permanent availability of bodies accredited for this purpose can represent an administrative maintenance cost .. which is no longer justified in the light of the lack of real demand by contracting entities. For these reasons, the attestation system should .. be abolished.

(18 )  Similarly, the conciliation mechanism provided for by Directive 92/13/EEC has not elicited any real interest from economic operators. This is due both to the fact that it does not of itself make it possible to obtain .. binding interim measures likely to prevent in time the illegal conclusion of a contract and also to its nature, which is not readily compatible with observance of the particularly short deadlines for reviews seeking interim measures and the setting aside of decisions taken unlawfully. In addition, the potential effectiveness of the conciliation mechanism has been weakened further by the difficulties encountered in establishing a complete and sufficiently wide list of independent conciliators in each Member State, available at any time and capable of dealing with conciliation requests at very short notice. For these reasons, this conciliation mechanism should .. be abolished.

(19 )   The Commission should be entitled to request the Member States to provide it with information on the operation of national review procedures, proportionate to the objective pursued, by involving the Advisory Committee for Public Contracts in determining the extent and nature of such information. Indeed, only by making such information available will it be possible to assess correctly the effects of the changes introduced in connection with this Directive at the end of a significant period of implementation.

The Commission should review progress made in the Member States and report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the effectiveness of this Directive no later than three years after implementation.

Directives 89/665/EEC and 92/13/EEC should therefore be amended accordingly.

(22 )  Since, for the reasons stated above, the objectives of this Directive cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives, while respecting the principle of the procedural autonomy of the Member States.

In accordance with point 34 of the Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making (10) , Member States should draw up, for themselves and in the interests of the Community, their own tables illustrating the correlation between this Directive and the transposition measures, and make them public.

(24 )  This Directive respects fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In particular, this Directive seeks to ensure full respect for the right to effective remedy and to a fair hearing , in accordance with the first and second subparagraphs of Article 47 of the Charter,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

In Directive 89/665/EC, Articles 1 to 4 shall be replaced by the following:

"

Article 1

Scope and availability of review procedures

1.  This Directive applies to contracts referred to in Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council* unless such contracts are excluded in accordance with Articles 10 to 18 of Directive 2004/18/EC.

Contracts within the meaning of this Directive include public contracts, framework agreements, public works concessions and dynamic purchasing systems.

The Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, as regards contracts falling within the scope of Directive 2004/18/EC, decisions taken by the contracting authorities may be reviewed effectively and, in particular, as rapidly as possible in accordance with the conditions set out in Articles 2 to 2g of this Directive, on the grounds that such decisions have infringed Community law in the field of public procurement or national rules transposing that law.

2.  Member States shall ensure that there is no discrimination between undertakings claiming injury in the context of a procedure for the award of a contract as a result of the distinction made by this Directive between national rules implementing Community law and other national rules.

3.  The Member States shall ensure that the review procedures are available, under detailed rules which the Member States may establish, at least to any person having or having had an interest in obtaining a particular contract and who has been or risks being harmed by an alleged infringement.

4.  The Member States may require that the person wishing to use a review procedure has notified the contracting authority of the alleged infringement and of his intention to seek review, provided that this does not affect the standstill period in accordance with Article 2a(2) or any other time limits for applying for a review in accordance with Article 2c.

5.  The Member States may require that the person concerned first seek review with the contracting authority. In that case, the Member States shall ensure that the submission of such an application for review results in immediate suspension of the possibility to conclude the contract.

The Member States shall decide on the appropriate means of communication, including fax or electronic means, to be used for the application for review in accordance with subparagraph 1.

The automatic suspension referred to in the first subparagraph shall end at the expiry of a period which may not be less than 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contracting authority has sent a reply if fax or electronic means are used or 15 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contracting authority has sent a reply if other means of communication are used. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that the automatic suspension shall end before the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the receipt of a reply.

Article 2

Requirements for the review procedures

1.  The Member States shall ensure that the measures taken concerning the review procedures specified in Article 1 include provision for the powers to:

  

a)

take, at the earliest opportunity and by way of interlocutory procedures, interim measures with the aim of correcting the alleged infringement or preventing further damage to the interests concerned, including measures to suspend or to ensure the suspension of the procedure for the award of a public contract or the implementation of any decision taken by the contracting authority;

  

b)

either set aside or ensure the setting aside of decisions taken unlawfully, including the removal of discriminatory technical, economic or financial specifications in the invitation to tender, the contract documents or in any other document relating to the contract award procedure;

  

c)

award damages to persons harmed by an infringement.

2.  The powers specified in paragraph 1 and Articles 2e and 2f may be conferred on separate bodies responsible for different aspects of the review procedure.

Automatic suspension

3.  When a body of first instance, which is independent of the contracting authority, has to review a contract award decision, the Member States shall ensure that the contracting authority cannot conclude the contract before the review body has made a decision on the application either for interim measures or for review. The suspension shall end no earlier than the expiry of the standstill period referred to in Articles 2a(2) and 2e(4) and (5).

3a. Except where provided for in paragraph 3 and Article 1(5), review procedures need not necessarily have an automatic suspensive effect on the contract award procedures to which they relate.

4.  The Member States may provide that the body responsible for review procedures may take into account the probable consequences of interim measures for all interests likely to be harmed, as well as the public interest, and may decide not to grant such measures when their negative consequences could exceed their benefits.

A decision not to grant interim measures shall not prejudice any other claim of the person seeking such measures.

5.  The Member States may provide that where damages are claimed on the grounds that a decision was taken unlawfully, the contested decision must first be set aside by a body having the necessary powers.

6.  Except where provided for in Articles 2e to 2g, the effects of the exercise of the powers referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article on a contract concluded subsequent to its award shall be determined by national law.

Furthermore, except where a decision must be set aside prior to the award of damages, a Member State may provide that, after the conclusion of a contract in accordance with Article 1(5), Article 2(3) or Articles 2a to 2g, the powers of the body responsible for review procedures shall be limited to awarding damages to any person harmed by an infringement.

7.  The Member States shall ensure that decisions taken by bodies responsible for review procedures can be effectively enforced.

8.  Where bodies responsible for review procedures are not judicial in character, written reasons for their decisions shall always be given. Furthermore, in such a case, provision must be made to guarantee procedures whereby any allegedly illegal measure taken by the review body or any alleged defect in the exercise of the powers conferred on it can be the subject of judicial review or review by another body which is a court or tribunal within the meaning of Article 234 of the EC Treaty and independent of both the contracting authority and the review body.

The members of such an independent body shall be appointed and leave office under the same conditions as members of the judiciary as regards the authority responsible for their appointment, their period of office, and their removal. At least the President of this independent body shall have the same legal and professional qualifications as members of the judiciary. The independent body shall take its decisions following a procedure in which both sides are heard, and these decisions shall, by means determined by each Member State, be legally binding.

Article 2a

Standstill period

"

1.  The Member States shall ensure that the persons referred to in Article 1(3) have sufficient time for effective review of the contract award decisions taken by contracting authorities, by adopting the necessary provisions which respect the minimum conditions stated in paragraph 2 of this Article and in Article 2c.

2.  A contract may not be concluded following the decision to award a contract falling within the scope of Directive 2004/18/EC before the expiry of a period of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers and candidates concerned if fax or electronic means are used or, if other means of communication are used, before the expiry of a period of at least 15 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers and candidates concerned. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that a contract shall not be concluded before the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the receipt of the contract award decision.

Tenderers shall be deemed to be concerned if they have not yet been definitively excluded. An exclusion is definitive if it has been notified to the tenderers concerned and has either been considered lawful by an independent review body or has not been or can no longer be subject to a review procedure.

Candidates shall be deemed to be concerned if the contracting authority has not made available information about the rejection of their application before the notification of the contract award decision to the tenderers concerned.

The communication of the award decision to each tenderer and candidate concerned shall be accompanied

  

by a summary of the relevant reasons, as referred to in Article 41(2) of Directive 2004/18/EC, subject to Article 41(3) of that Directive, and

  

by a precise statement of the exact standstill period applicable in accordance with the national provisions transposing this paragraph.

Article 2b

Derogations from the standstill period

The Member States may provide that the periods referred to in Article 2a(2) do not apply in the following cases:

  

a)

if Directive 2004/18/EC does not require prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union;

  

b)

if the only tenderer concerned within the meaning of Article 2a(2) is the one who is awarded the contract and there are no candidates concerned;

  

c)

in the case of a contract based on a framework agreement as provided for in Article 32 of Directive 2004/18/EC and in the case of a specific contract based on a dynamic purchasing system as provided for in Article 33 of Directive 2004/18/EC.

If this derogation is invoked, Member States shall ensure that the contract is ineffective in accordance with Articles 2e and 2g, if

  

there is an infringement of the second indent of the second subparagraph of Article 32(4) or an infringement of Article 33(5) or (6) of Directive 2004/18/EC and

  

the contract value is estimated to be equal to or to exceed the thresholds in Article 7 of Directive 2004/18/EC.

Article 2c

Time limits for applying for a review

When the Member States provide that any application for a review of a contracting authority's decision taken in the context of, or in relation with, a contract award procedure falling within the scope of Directive 2004/18/EC must be made before the expiry of a specified period, this period shall be at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contracting authority's decision is sent to the tenderer or candidate if fax or electronic means are used or, if other means of communication are used, this period shall be at least 15 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contracting authority's decision is sent to the tenderer or candidate. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that the time period shall end at the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the receipt of the contracting authority's decision. The communication of the contracting authority's decision to each tenderer or candidate shall be accompanied by a summary of the relevant reasons. In the case of an application for review concerning decisions referred to in Article 2(1)(b) that are not subject to a specific notification, the time period shall be at least 10 calendar days from the date of its publication.

Article 2d

..

Article 2e

Ineffectiveness

Ineffectiveness

1.  The Member States shall ensure that a contract is considered ineffective by a review body independent of the contracting authority or that its ineffectiveness is the result of a decision of such a review body,

  

a)

if the contracting authority has awarded a contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union without this being permissible in accordance with Directive 2004/18/EC.

  

b)

in case of an infringement of Article 1(5), Article 2(3) or Article 2a(2), if this infringement has deprived the tenderer applying for a review of the possibility to pursue precontractual remedies
combined with an infringement of Directive 2004/18/EC, if this infringement has affected the chances of the tenderer applying for a review to obtain the contract.

  

c)

in cases referred to in Article 2b(c), second subparagraph, if Member States have invoked the derogation from the standstill period for contracts based on a framework agreement and a dynamic purchasing system.

Consequences of ineffectiveness

2.  The consequences of a contract being considered ineffective are provided for by national legal systems.

National law may therefore provide for the retroactive cancellation of all contractual obligations or limit the scope of the cancellation to those obligations which still have to be performed. In the latter case, Member States shall provide for the application of other penalties within the meaning of Article 2f(2).

Derogation from ineffectiveness

3.  Member States may provide that the review body independent of the contracting authority may not consider a contract ineffective, even though it has been awarded illegally on the grounds mentioned in paragraph 1, if the review body finds, after having examined all relevant aspects, that overriding reasons relating to a general interest require that the effects of the contract should be maintained. In this case, Member States shall provide for alternative penalties within the meaning of Article 2f(2), which shall be applied instead.

Economic interests in the effectiveness of the contract may only be considered as overriding reasons if in exceptional circumstances ineffectiveness would lead to disproportionate consequences.

However, economic interests directly linked to the contract concerned shall not constitute overriding reasons relating to a general interest. Economic interests directly linked to the contract include, inter alia, the costs resulting from the delay in the execution of the contract, the costs resulting from the launching of a new procurement procedure, the costs resulting from the change of the economic operator performing the contract and the costs of legal obligations resulting from the ineffectiveness.

Alternative: ex-ante-transparency

4.  The Member States shall provide that paragraph 1(a) does not apply, if

  

the contracting authority considers that the award of a contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union is permissible in accordance with Directive 2004/18/EC,

  

the contracting authority has published in the Official Journal a notice as described in Article 3a expressing its intention to conclude the contract and

  

the contract has not been concluded before the expiry of a period of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the publication of this notice.

Alternative: ex-ante-transparency for contracts based on framework agreements or dynamic purchasing systems

5.  The Member States shall provide that paragraph 1(c) does not apply, if

  

the contracting authority considers that the award of a contract is in accordance with the second indent of the second subparagraph of Article 32(4) or with Article 33(5) and (6) of Directive 2004/18/EC,

  

the contracting authority has sent a contract award decision, together with a summary of the reasons as referred to in Article 2a(2), to the tenderers concerned and

  

the contract has not been concluded before the expiry of a period of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers concerned if fax or electronic means are used or, if other means of communications are used, before the expiry of a period of at least 15 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers concerned. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that a contract shall not be concluded before the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the receipt of the contract award decision.

Article 2f

Infringements of this Directive; alternative penalties

1.  In case of an infringement of Article 1(5), Article 2(3) or Article 2a(2) not covered by Article 2e(1)(b), Member States shall provide for ineffectiveness in accordance with Article 2e(1) to (3) or alternative penalties. Member States may provide that the review body independent of the contracting authority shall decide, after having assessed all relevant aspects, whether the contract should be considered ineffective or whether alternative penalties should be imposed.

2.  Alternative penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Alternative penalties shall be:

  

the imposition of fines on the contracting authority; or

  

the shortening of the duration of the contract.

Member States may confer on the review body broad discretion to take into account all the relevant factors, including the seriousness of the infringement, the behaviour of the contracting authority and, in the cases referred to in Article 2e(2), the extent to which the contract remains in force.

The award of damages does not constitute an appropriate penalty within the meaning of this paragraph.

Article 2g

Time limits

1.  The Member States may provide that the application for a review in accordance with Article 2e(1) must be made

  

a)

before the expiry of at least 30 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which
the contracting authority has published a contract award notice in accordance with Articles 35(4), 36 and 37 of Directive 2004/18/EC, provided that this notice includes justification of the decision of the contracting authority to award the contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union;
the contracting authority has informed the tenderers and candidates concerned of the conclusion of the contract, provided that this information contains a summary of the relevant reasons referred to in Article 41(2) of Directive 2004/18/EC, subject to Article 41(3) of that Directive. This option also applies to cases referred to in Article 2b(c);

  

b)

in any case before the expiry of at least 6 months with effect from the day following the date of the conclusion of the contract.

2.  In all other cases, including applications for a review in accordance with Article 2f(1), the time limits for the application for a review shall be determined by national law, subject to Article 2c.

Article 3

Corrective mechanism

1.  The Commission may invoke the procedure provided for in paragraphs 2 to 5 when, prior to a contract being concluded, it considers that a serious infringement of Community provisions in the field of public procurement has been committed during a contract award procedure falling within the scope of Directive 2004/18/EC.

2.  The Commission shall notify the Member State concerned of the reasons which have led it to conclude that a serious infringement has been committed and request its correction.

3.  Within 21 calendar days of receipt of the notification referred to in paragraph 2, the Member State concerned shall communicate to the Commission:

  

a)

its confirmation that the infringement has been corrected; or

  

b)

a reasoned submission as to why no correction has been made; or

  

c)

a notice to the effect that the contract award procedure has been suspended either by the contracting authority on its own initiative or on the basis of the powers specified in Article 2(1)(a).

4.  A reasoned submission in accordance with paragraph 3(b) may rely among other matters on the fact that the alleged infringement is already the subject of judicial or other review proceedings or of a review as referred to in Article 2(8). In such a case, the Member State shall inform the Commission of the result of those proceedings as soon as it becomes known.

5.  Where notice has been given that a contract award procedure has been suspended in accordance with paragraph 3(c), the Member State shall notify the Commission when the suspension is lifted or another contract procedure relating in whole or in part to the same subject matter is begun. That notification shall confirm that the alleged infringement has been corrected or include a reasoned submission as to why no correction has been made.

Article 3a

Content of a notice for voluntary ex-ante-transparency

The notice referred to in Article 2e(4), second indent, the format of which shall be adopted by the Commission in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 3b(2), shall contain the following information: name and contact details of the contracting authority, description of the object of the contract, justification of the decision of the contracting authority to award the contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, the name and contact details of the economic operator to whom the contract is awarded and, where appropriate, any other information deemed useful by the contracting authority.

Article 3b

Comitology procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by the Advisory Committee for Public Contracts set up by Article 1 of Decision 71/306/EEC (hereinafter referred to as "the Committee").

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 3 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, in compliance with Article 8 thereof.

3.  The Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure.

Article 4

Implementation of the Directive

1.  The Commission may request the Member States, in consultation with the Committee, to provide it with information on the operation of the national review procedures.

2.  The Member States shall communicate to the Commission on a yearly basis the text of all decisions, together with their reasoning, taken by their review bodies in accordance with Article 2e(3).

Article 4a

Review of this Directive

No later than three years after implementation of this Directive the Commission shall review its implementation and report to the European Parliament and to the Council on its effectiveness, in particular on the effectiveness of the alternative penalties and the time limits.

* OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p. 114.

Article 2

Directive 92/13/EEC shall be amended as follows:

1)  Article 1 shall be replaced by the following :

"

Article 1

Scope and availability of review procedures

1.  This Directive applies to contracts referred to in Directive 2004/17/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council* unless such contracts are excluded in accordance with Article 5(2), Articles 18 to 26, Article 29 to 30 or Article 62 of Directive 2004/17/EC.

Contracts within the meaning of this Directive include supply, works and service contracts, framework agreements and dynamic purchasing systems.

The Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, as regards contracts falling within the scope of Directive 2004/17/EC , decisions taken by contracting entities may be reviewed effectively and, in particular, as rapidly as possible in accordance with the conditions set out in Articles 2 to 2g of this Directive, on the grounds that such decisions have infringed Community law in the field of procurement or national rules transposing that law.

2.  Member States shall ensure that there is no discrimination between undertakings likely to make a claim for injury in the context of a procedure for the award of a contract as a result of the distinction made by this Directive between national rules implementing Community law and other national rules.

3.  The Member States shall ensure that the review procedures are available, under detailed rules which the Member States may establish, at least to any person having or having had an interest in obtaining a particular contract and who has been or risks being harmed by an alleged infringement.

4.  The Member States may require that the person wishing to use a review procedure has notified the contracting entity of the alleged infringement and of his intention to seek review, provided that this does not affect the standstill period in accordance with Article 2a(2) or any other time limits for applying for a review in accordance with Article 2c.

5.  The Member States may require that the person concerned first seek review with the contracting entity. In that case, the Member States shall ensure that the submission of such an application for review results in immediate suspension of the possibility to conclude the contract.

The Member States shall decide on the appropriate means of communication, including fax or electronic means, to be used for the application for review in accordance with subparagraph 1.

The automatic suspension referred to in the first subparagraph shall end at the expiry of a period which may not be less than 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contracting entity has sent a reply if fax or electronic means are used or 15 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contracting entity has sent a reply if other means of communication are used. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that the automatic suspension shall end before the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the receipt of a reply.

* OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p. 1.

"

2)  Article 2 shall be amended as follows:

(a)  The title "Requirements for the review procedures" shall be inserted .

(b)  Paragraphs 2 to 4 shall be replaced by the following:

"

The powers specified in paragraph 1 and Articles 2e and 2f may be conferred on separate bodies responsible for different aspects of the review procedure.

Automatic suspension

3.  When a body of first instance, which is independent of the contracting entity, has to review a contract award decision, the Member States shall ensure that the contracting entity cannot conclude the contract before the review body has made a decision on the application either for interim measures or for review. The suspension shall end no earlier than the expiry of the standstill period referred to in Articles 2a(2) and 2e(4) and (5).

3a. Except where provided for in paragraph 3 and Article 1(5), review procedures need not necessarily have an automatic suspensive effect on the contract award procedures to which they relate.

4.  The Member States may provide that the body responsible for review procedures may take into account the probable consequences of interim measures for all interests likely to be harmed, as well as the public interest, and may decide not to grant such measures when their negative consequences could exceed their benefits.

A decision not to grant interim measures shall not prejudice any other claim of the person seeking such measures.

  

c)

..

(d)  Paragraph 6 shall be replaced by the following :

Except where provided for in Articles 2e and 2g , the effects of the exercise of the powers referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article on a contract concluded subsequent to its award shall be determined by national law.

Furthermore , except where a decision must be set aside prior to the award of damages, a Member State may provide that, after the conclusion of a contract in accordance with Article 1(5) , Article 2(3) or Articles 2a to 2g , the powers of the body responsible for review procedures shall be limited to awarding damages to any person harmed by an infringement.

"

(e)  In the first subparagraph of paragraph 9, the words "court or tribunal within the meaning of Article 177 of the Treaty" shall be replaced by the words "court or tribunal within the meaning of Article 234 of the Treaty".

3)   The following Articles 2a to 2g shall be inserted:

"

Article 2a

Standstill period

"

1.  The Member States shall ensure that the persons referred to in Article 1(3) have sufficient time for effective review of the contract award decisions taken by contracting entities, by adopting the necessary provisions which respect the minimum conditions stated in paragraph 2 of this Article and in Article 2c.

2.  A contract may not be concluded following the decision to award a contract falling within the scope of Directive 2004/17/EC before the expiry of a period of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers and candidates concerned if fax or electronic means are used or, if other means of communication are used, before the expiry of a period of at least 15 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers and candidates concerned. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that a contract shall not be concluded before the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the receipt of the contract award decision.

Tenderers shall be deemed to be concerned if they have not yet been definitively excluded. An exclusion is definitive if it has been notified to the tenderers concerned and has either been considered lawful by an independent review body or has not been or can no longer be subject to a review procedure.

Candidates shall be deemed to be concerned if the contracting entity has not made available information about the rejection of their application before the notification of the contract award decision to the tenderers concerned.

The communication of the award decision to each tenderer and candidate concerned shall be accompanied

  

by a summary of the relevant reasons, as referred to in Article 49(2) of Directive 2004/17/EC, and

  

by a precise statement of the exact standstill period applicable in accordance with the national provisions transposing this paragraph.

Article 2b

Derogations from the standstill period

The Member States may provide that the periods referred to in Article 2a(2) do not apply in the following cases:

  

a)

if Directive 2004/17/EC does not require prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union;

  

b)

if the only tenderer concerned within the meaning of Article 2a(2) is the one who is awarded the contract and there are no candidates concerned;

  

c)

in the case of specific contracts based on a dynamic purchasing system as provided for in Article 15 of Directive 2004/17/EC.

If this derogation is invoked, Member States shall ensure that the contract is ineffective in accordance with Articles 2e and 2g, if

  

there is an infringement of Article 15(5) or (6) of Directive 2004/17/EC and

  

the contract value is estimated to be equal to or to exceed the thresholds in Article 16 of Directive 2004/17/EC.

Article 2c

Time limits for applying for a review

When the Member States provide that any application for a review of a contracting entity's decision taken in the context of, or in relation with, a contract award procedure falling within the scope of Directive 2004/17/EC must be made before the expiry of a specified period, this period shall be at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contracting entity's decision is sent to the tenderer or candidate if fax or electronic means are used or, if other means of communication are used, this period shall be at least 15 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contracting entity's decision is sent to the tenderer or candidate. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that the period shall end at the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of receipt of the contracting entity's decision. The communication of the contracting entity's decision to each tenderer or candidate shall be accompanied by a summary of the relevant reasons. In the case of an application for a review concerning decisions referred to in Article 2(1)(b) that are not subject to a specific notification, the time period shall be at least 10 calendar days from the date of its publication.

Article 2d

..

Article 2e

Ineffectiveness

Ineffectiveness

1.  The Member States shall ensure that a contract is considered ineffective by a review body independent of the contracting entity or that its ineffectiveness is the result of a decision of such a review body,

  

a)

if the contracting entity has awarded a contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union without this being permissible in accordance with Directive 2004/17/EC;

  

b)

in case of an infringement of Article 1(5), Article 2(3) or Article 2a(2), if this infringement has deprived the tenderer applying for a review of the possibility to pursue precontractual remedies
combined with an infringement of Directive 2004/17/EC, if this infringement has affected the chances of the tenderer applying for a review to obtain the contract;

  

c)

in cases referred to in Article 2b(c), second subparagraph, if Member States have invoked the derogation from the standstill period for contracts based on a dynamic purchasing system.

Consequences of ineffectiveness

2.  The consequences of a contract being considered ineffective are provided for by national legal systems.

National law may therefore provide for the retroactive cancellation of all contractual obligations or limit the scope of the cancellation to those obligations which still have to be performed. In the latter case, Member States shall provide for the application of other penalties within the meaning of Article 2f(2).

Derogation from ineffectiveness

3.  Member States may provide that the review body independent of the contracting entity may not consider a contract ineffective, even though it has been awarded illegally on the grounds mentioned in paragraph 1, if the review body finds, after having examined all relevant aspects, that overriding reasons relating to a general interest require that the effects of the contract should be maintained. In this case, Member States shall provide for alternative penalties within the meaning of Article 2f(2), which shall be applied instead.

Economic interests in the effectiveness of the contract may only be considered as overriding reasons if in exceptional circumstances ineffectiveness would lead to disproportionate consequences.

However, economic interests directly linked to the contract concerned shall not constitute overriding reasons relating to a general interest. Economic interests directly linked to the contract include, inter alia, the costs resulting from the delay in the execution of the contract, the costs resulting from the launching of a new procurement procedure, the costs resulting from the change of the economic operator performing the contract and the costs of legal obligations resulting from the ineffectiveness.

Alternative: ex-ante-transparency

4.  The Member States shall provide that paragraph 1(a) does not apply, if

  

the contracting entity considers that the award of a contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union is permissible in accordance with Directive 2004/17/EC,

  

the contracting entity has published in the Official Journal a notice as described in Article 3a expressing its intention to conclude the contract, and

  

the contract has not been concluded before the expiry of a period of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the publication of this notice.

Alternative: ex-ante-transparency for contracts based on dynamic purchasing systems

5.  The Member States shall provide that paragraph 1(c) does not apply, if

  

the contracting entity considers that the award of a contract is in accordance with Article 15(5) and (6) of Directive 2004/17/EC,

  

the contracting entity has sent a contract award decision, together with a summary of the reasons as referred to in Article 2a(2), to the tenderers concerned, and

  

the contract has not been concluded before the expiry of a period of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers concerned if fax or electronic means are used or, if other means of communications are used, before the expiry of a period of at least 15 calendar days with effect from the day after the date on which the contract award decision is sent to the tenderers concerned. In the latter case, Member States may also provide that a contract shall not be concluded before the expiry of at least 10 calendar days with effect from the day following the date of the receipt of the contract award decision.

Article 2f

Infringements of this Directive; alternative penalties

1.  In case of an infringement of Article 1(5), Article 2(3) or Article 2a(2) not covered by Article 2e(1)(b), Member States shall provide for ineffectiveness in accordance with Article 2e(1) to (3) or alternative penalties. Member States may provide that the review body independent of the contracting entity shall decide, after having assessed all relevant aspects, whether the contract should be considered ineffective or whether alternative penalties should be imposed.

2.  Alternative penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Alternative penalties shall be:

  

the imposition of fines on the contracting entity; or

  

the shortening of the duration of the contract.

Member States may confer on the review body broad discretion to take into account all the relevant factors, including the seriousness of the infringement, the behaviour of the contracting entity and, in the cases referred to in Article 2e(2), the extent to which the contract remains in force.

The award of damages does not constitute an appropriate penalty within the meaning of this paragraph.

Article 2g

Time limits

1.  The Member States may provide that the application for a review in accordance with Article 2e(1) must be made

  

a)

before the expiry of at least 30 calendar days with effect from the day following the date on which

  

the contracting entity has published a contract award notice in accordance with Articles 43 and 44 of Directive 2004/17/EC, provided that this notice includes the justification of the decision of the contracting entity to award the contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union;

  

the contracting entity has informed the tenderers and candidates concerned of the conclusion of the contract, provided that this information contains a summary of the relevant reasons referred to in Article 49(2) of Directive 2004/17/EC. This option also applies to cases referred to in Article 2b(c);

  

b)

in any case before the expiry of at least 6 months with effect from the day following the date of the conclusion of the contract.

2.  In all other cases, including applications for a review in accordance with Article 2f(1), the time limits for the application for a review shall be determined by national law, subject to Article 2c.

4)  Articles 3 to 7 shall be replaced by the following:

"

Article 3a

Content of a notice for voluntary ex-ante-transparency

The notice referred to in Article 2e(4), second indent, the format of which shall be adopted by the Commission in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 4(2), shall contain the following information: name and contact details of the contracting entity, description of the object of the contract, justification of the decision of the contracting entity to award the contract without prior publication of a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union, the name and contact details of the economic operator to whom the contract is awarded and, where appropriate, any other information deemed useful by the contracting entity.

Article 3b

Comitology procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by the Advisory Committee for Public Contracts set up by Article 1 of Decision 71/306/EEC (hereinafter referred to as "the Committee").

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 3 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, in compliance with Article 8 thereof.

3.  The Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure.

"

5)  Article 8 shall be replaced by the following:

"

Article 8

Corrective mechanism

1.  The Commission may invoke the procedure provided for in paragraphs 2 to 5 when, prior to a contract being concluded, it considers that a serious infringement of Community provisions in the field of procurement has been committed during a contract award procedure falling within the scope of Directive 2004/17/EC or in relation to Article 27(a) of that Directive in the case of contracting entities to which that provision applies.

2.  The Commission shall notify the Member State concerned of the reasons which have led it to conclude that a serious infringement has been committed and request its correction by appropriate means.

3.  Within 21 calendar days of receipt of the notification referred to in paragraph 2, the Member State concerned shall communicate to the Commission:

  

a)

its confirmation that the infringement has been corrected; or

  

b)

a reasoned submission as to why no correction has been made; or

  

c)

a notice to the effect that the contract award procedure has been suspended either by the contracting entity on its own initiative or on the basis of the powers specified in Article 2(1)(a).

4.  A reasoned submission in accordance with paragraph 3(b) may rely among other matters on the fact that the alleged infringement is already the subject of judicial review proceedings or of a review as referred to in Article 2(9). In such a case, the Member State shall inform the Commission of the result of those proceedings as soon as it becomes known.

5.  Where notice has been given that a contract award procedure has been suspended in accordance with paragraph 3(c), the Member State concerned shall notify the Commission when the suspension is lifted or another contract procedure relating in whole or in part to the same subject matter is begun. That new notification shall confirm that the alleged infringement has been corrected or include a reasoned submission as to why no correction has been made.

"

6)  Articles 9 to 12 shall be replaced by the following:

"

Article 12

Implementation of this Directive

1.  The Commission may request the Member States, in consultation with the Committee, to provide it with information on the operation of the national review procedures.

2.  The Member States shall communicate to the Commission on a yearly basis the text of all decisions, together with their reasoning, taken by their review bodies in accordance with Article 2e(3).

Article 12a

Review of this Directive

No later than three years after implementation of this Directive the Commission shall review its implementation and report to the European Parliament and to the Council on its effectiveness, in particular on the effectiveness of the alternative penalties and the time limits.

"

  

7)

..

8)  The Annex .. shall be deleted .

Article 3

Transposition

1.  Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 24 months after the date of publication of this Directive in the Official Journal of the European Union at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate .. to the Commission the text of those provisions .. .

When .. Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. .. Member States shall determine how such a reference is to be made.

2.   .. Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 4

This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union .

Article 5

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at ..

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1)

* Bold and italics marks new or replacement text while deleted text is marked with the symbol .. .

(2)

OJ C

(3)

OJ C

(4)

OJ C

(5)

Position of the European Parliament of 21 June 2007.

(6)

OJ L 395, 30.12.1989, p. 33. Directive amended by Directive 92/50/EEC (OJ L 209, 24.7.1992, p. 1).

(7)

OJ L 76, 23.3.1992, p. 14. Directive as last amended by the 2003 Act of Accession.

(8)

OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p. 114. Directive as last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 2083/2005 (OJ L 333, 20.12.2005 , p. 28).

(9)

OJ L 134, 30.4.2004, p. 1. Directive as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 2083/2005.

(10)

OJ C 321, 31.12.2003, p. 1.

 

Last updated: 29 June 2007

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