EPrior - The european eProcurement platform

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


Public procurement plays an important role in the development of the single market. In 2009, total public procurement expenditure in the EU was estimated at around 19% of EU GDP (or €2,300 billion). Approximately 18% of this expenditure (3.6% of EU GDP, €420 billion) was above the EU thresholds and hence governed by the EU public procurement legislation. Several studies demonstrate that switching from paper-based procurement to electronic procurement would be highly desirable for Europe. The widespread use of eProcurement would simultaneously result in significant savings in total procurement costs and reductions in transaction costs. Despite the several EU policy efforts to put public e-Procurement at an equal footing with paper-based approaches, its take-up remains low, both within most countries and across the EU as a whole.

The ‘ePRIOR’ project was started in 2007 by the Directorates-General for Internal Market (DG-MARKT) and Informatics (DIGIT), of the European Commission, to support the objectives of the i2010 EU policy framework and the eProcurement Action Plan. The ‘ePRIOR’ project was initially sponsored by IDABC to show that emerging standards to enable interoperability in a cross-border environment could be used in a real-life pilot of B2G eInvoicing. In 2008, this pilot was successfully completed between a few suppliers and DIGIT. During the pilot, DIGIT actively contributed to the creation of these standards in close cooperation with standardisation bodies and Member States. This pilot paved the way for the use of these standards by PEPPOL, the eProcurement Large Scale Pilot of the ICP programme. Furthermore, it also showed that the European Commission not only plays a central role in managing the rules of the internal market but also in its creation, by harnessing the potential of technology for better public procurement. With regards to technology, the eInvoices were exchanged via the ‘ePRIOR’ platform, created for that purpose. This system was developed by DIGIT to enable the secure exchange of documents between the systems of the European Commission and those of suppliers or service providers. Today this platform is available for free to Member States, in Open Source, and it offers direct and easy connection to PEPPOL. This open source version of ‘ePRIOR’ is known as ‘Open ePRIOR’.

As of 2009 eInvoicing is live at DIGIT and it has proven to offer significant advantages over traditional paper-based invoicing, such as better data quality, faster processing time, no data encoding, no scanning of attachments, no lost invoices, etc. DIGIT is now mandating its us in all new Framework Contracts and expanding the use of electronic means to all of the post-Award value chain: catalogues, orders, goods receipt, payment reminders, etc. The ‘ePRIOR’ project is currently being carried out under the umbrella of the ISA programme and the role of the European Commission in leading by example by using eProcurement is today a policy objective stated in the follow-up to the i2010 policy framework, the Digital Agenda for Europe.

Award info
Award category: smart public service delivery
Award type: submission
Award year: 2011
Project type
Sector: Economic affairs, competition, SME
Type of activity:
Keywords: Public procurement, electronic procurement, policy, standards, interoperability, cross-border, opensource, eInvoicing, DIGIT, eOrdering, eCatalogue
Short English description: Today this platform is available for free to Member States, in Open Source, and it offers direct and easy connection to PEPPOL. This open source version of ‘ePRIOR’ is known as ‘Open ePRIOR’.
Further information
Organisation: European Commission DG Informatics
Other applicants:
Level of government: EU institutions
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Belgium
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

EPrior - The european eProcurement platform (50.8421883, 4.3705744)
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