Droit de la commande publique et droit de la concurrence de l’Union européenne, Vincent BRIDOUX

Vincent Bridoux

This section selects books on themes related to competition laws and economics. This compilation does not attempt to be exhaustive but rather a survey of themes important in the area. The survey usually covers publication over the last three months after publication of the latest issue of Concurrences. Publishers, authors and editors are welcome to send books to catherine.prieto@univ-paris1.fr for review in this section.

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There are many different levels of government procurement regulations, which make the activities of companies operating in this vast economic sector partly complex. The WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, revised in 2012, is the umbrella for a group of directives and regulations in the European Union, of which we will limit ourselves to mentioning here: Directives 2014/24 on public procurement, 2014/23 on concessions and 2014/25 on the procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors. National law has taken on the task of implementing these standards, and the French Public Procurement Code, which entered into force on 1 April 2019, is a perfect illustration. The practice of administrative and competition authorities has developed within this broad framework and, more often than not, has promoted the understanding of these areas of law.

This is to say that the author of this thesis could have built his work on and around this body of regulation and case law, using for example the numerous references to competition in Directive 2014/24 to make the link between public procurement law and competition law: after all, do we not see appearing in the first paragraph of this Directive the well-established if not classic objective that "the award of public contracts [must be] open to competition"; similarly, art. 57 par. 4 of this text allows a contracting authority to exclude from a public procurement procedure an economic operator who "has entered into agreements with other economic operators with a view to distorting competition" (let. d) or who has participated in the preparation of such a procedure and would thereby have created a distortion of competition (let. f). A well-ordered compilation of all this would have satisfied more than one doctoral student and, probably, many practitioners.

Vincent Bridoux has, however, opted for a more original perspective of the "common" - but also "sinuous" - dynamics born of the meeting of these two laws. Let there be no mistake about it, his presentation and analysis of these two laws are detailed and very well structured, supported by a solid bibliography and excellent case law; an index further supports these efforts and will assist every reader in using this work. The result is a book whose elegant form fully reflects the quality of its content. The distinction between intra-group and extra-group collusive practices was naturally expected; the treatment of the limited application of the prohibition of cartels to intra-group agreements sheds a particularly interesting light, both from a scientific and practical point of view. The study of unilateral practices - and the relevance of the developments on predation in particular - also contributes to this systematization, all the more so as the chosen approach targets both private companies and public entities.

The chapter devoted to ’public procurement law as reflected in State aid law’ deserves special mention insofar as, on the one hand, it is the result of both legal and economic reflection on this topic and, on the other hand, it tends to bring these two groups of norms closer together; the interaction of these different research procedures naturally leads to the formulation of convincing conclusions, worthy of fuelling new developments in these now well-connected subjects. As for the second title, it completes this convincing study by highlighting the relationship between (general) competition law and (special) public procurement law: classicism and originality can in turn be combined.