Promoting human rights compliance through public procurement: the new European Directive
While more and more governments use their purchasing power to stimulate green production and to promote social goals such as re-employment, integrating aspects concerning human rights compliance in the supply chain seems to be the next logical step in the ongoing trend of sustainable procurement. However, pursuing human rights goals within the context of EU regulated tendering procedures – originally set up and regulated from an economic perspective – can be challenging. While the desire of national legislators and public authorities to find ways to reconcile their economic goals with the promotion of human rights compliance grows, the scope they have to do so on the basis of the new European Directives is still unclear. This paper will illustrate that, although the new Directives seem to have expanded this scope, they will also set the ground for further discussion and legal uncertainty with regard to the question what Member States and contracting authorities are allowed (or maybe even obligated) to do in this respect. This illustration will be based on the analysis of two of the most striking new provisions within the proposed Directive, relevant with regard to promoting human rights considerations in public procurement (regulation), being article 18(2) and article 67 of the new Directive 2014/24 EU.