Unlocking opportunities: Turin hosts EU agencies procurement symposium

In a landmark event held at Palazzo Madama in Turin, more than 100 companies, institutions and universities gathered to explore the intricacies of doing business with European Union (EU) agencies in the field of public procurement.  

Organised by the European Training Foundation (ETF) in collaboration with the Network of Agencies Procurement Officers, Ceipiemonte (the Piedmont agency for investments, export and tourism) and the Torino Chamber of Commerce, the event, entitled "Doing Business with the Agencies of the European Union", aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the EU's procurement system and to promote collaboration opportunities for local companies. 

The event kicked off with a warm welcome by representatives of the Torino Chamber of Commerce, the Municipality of Turin, Ceipiemonte and the ETF. This set the scene for a day packed with insightful sessions, including discussions on the strategic relevance of EU public procurement, the future trends in sustainability and emerging technologies, and an in-depth exploration of the specific procurement needs of the participating EU agencies. 

Dario Gallina, President of the Turin Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the event and highlighted the potential for small and medium-sized enterprises.

"I am delighted to welcome representatives from so many EU agencies here in Turin. We are also very happy to organise such an event together with the European Training Foundation." 

Giorgia Garola, vicepresident di Ceipiemonte, emphasised the synergy of shared perspectives.

"We have forged a common vision in dealing with internationalisation and providing comprehensive support to our companies in different sectors. Last year, more than 80 Piedmont companies expressed an interest in participating in international tenders, and 15 of them were awarded contracts. This underlines the effectiveness of our joint efforts in facilitating global opportunities for local companies.” 

Before kicking off the works, Cécile Beelaerts, Head of ETF Resources Unit, provided insights on the EU's agencies' landscape and the cooperation that takes place at the level of the EU's Agencies Network.

The collaboration between EU agencies, companies and institutions underline the commitment to improve the quality and sustainability of goods and services, ultimately benefiting European citizens, a goal that was emphasised by all stakeholders present at the event.

Barbara Gottero, ETF Procurement and Contract Coordinator, emphasised that procurement is not only (or no longer) an administrative procedure.

"It is also a way for EU agencies to support the implementation of the mandate. If we're buying better quality goods at better prices, we're better able to achieve what we need to do as agencies."

Following a technical immersion in the legal framework and timeline of the procurement process, Gottero also stressed the importance of joint applications, mentioning the possibility for small and medium-sized enterprises to better organise themselves in a consortium and thus achieve economies of scale. 

"When applying for a tender, make sure in advance that you meet all the criteria. And don't forget the importance of networking and cooperation," Gottero said.

Eva Jimeno Sicilia, Head of ETF Strategy and Resources Department, highlighted another milestone in the development of economic cooperation with EU agencies.

"For us, sustainability is at least an obligation. But it's much more than that, it's about deep responsibility and care in all the dimensions of our work." By cutting its carbon emissions by half between 2019 and 2022, the ETF is “leading by example” in working with the private sector. 

Going beyond wishful thinking, the presentations and discussions also touched on many critical aspects.  

"If it is true that an important landmark for the procurement of EU agencies is the business within the EU, in today's world it's also necessary to go beyond the market and to analyse in detail the supply chain of a product," said Professor Roberto Caranta from the University of Turin. "In this sense, the EU legal framework, and in particular the European Green Deal and many upcoming laws, represent a revolution in the approach to procurement, going beyond the mere procedures and regulations." 

The morning session continued with a comprehensive overview of the procurement landscape, with 13 EU agencies outlining their mandates and procurement plans. The afternoon session focused on practical aspects, with the European Environment Agency providing guidance on the use of eProcurement tools and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, the European Food Safety Authority and Fusion for Energy presenting valuable insights into tender preparation. 

The event not only served as a unique platform for over 60 in-depth business meetings between agencies and participants, but it also marked a significant step forward in fostering dialogue and knowledge exchange between EU agencies and the market, illustrating the shared interest of leveraging EU procurement opportunities for business growth, and much broader goals.

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