Procurement at the Council of Europe represents between 80 and 100 M€ of purchases a year, spread between ten or so main categories.

These purchases are decentralised, and each Directorate organises its own procurement.

Most procurement at the Council is in two main areas:

  • procurement related to the Council of Europe's operational activities (managed by Directorates General I and II, the Directorate of Programme Co-ordination etc) partially decentralised in the Council's external offices;
  • procurement related to the functioning of the Council (more specifically managed by the Directorate General of Administration, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare - EDQM) chiefly grouped in Strasbourg for the buildings situated there and could also concern the Council's Brussels and Paris offices.

The Council of Europe publishes every year, for information, a Procurement report presenting key facts and figures : 

Procurement at the Council of Europe is based on four fundamental principles:

Any supplier meeting the eligibility criteria must be able to participate in our calls for tenders. 

Fair and non-discriminatory treatment of suppliers involved in calls for tenders. 

Transparent procedures (known exclusion / eligibility criteria, marking scales ensuring that bids are assessed on an equal footing etc)

Periodical competitive bidding procedures (contracts of limited duration, regular retendering etc)

A few examples:

Directorate of Programme Co-ordination, Directorate General I and Directorate General II (+/- 35 M€ per annum)

These bodies cover the core of the Council of Europe's activity: upholding human rights on the European continent.  Procurement by these Directorates is mainly based on tenders relating to:

  • consultancy services
  • intellectual services and other expert input
  • conference and event organising, room hire etc

While much of these Directorates' purchasing is managed in Strasbourg, it is important to note that substantial volumes of procurement are accounted for by a very large number of smaller projects.

In addition, via its Directorate of Programme Co-ordination (DPC), the Council of Europe runs a number of external offices.
Consult the list of Council of Europe external offices and local contacts

Directorate General of Administration (DGA) (+/- 30 M€ per annum)

The DGA handles all the cross-cutting activities enabling the Council of Europe to function smoothly.  Its main expenditure is on:

  • Construction and works projects linked to the Council of Europe buildings
  • Upkeep and maintenance of premises (cleaning, green spaces etc)
  • Services provided for Council of Europe staff (catering, travel agency, security etc)
  • Human resources (recruitment, recruitment competitions, consultants etc)
  • Information technologies (licences, hardware, maintenance etc)
  • Conferences and related activities (translation, interpreting, multimedia etc)
  • Printing and layout of documents and publications

In addition, there are various insurance policies covering the Council of Europe's staff (medical and social cover) and its buildings and assets.

European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (+/- 15 M€ per annum)

The EDQM's mission is to contribute to the basic human right of access to good quality medicines and healthcare and to promote and protect human and animal health.  The main purchases fall into the following categories:

  • Laboratory and production equipment
  • Upkeep and maintenance of laboratory and production equipment
  • Raw materials, chemical substances, consumables and laboratory reagents
  • Expertise in the health field
  • Packaging and transportation for reference standards,  the European Pharmacopoeia and EDQM publications
  • Information technologies (licences, hardware, maintenance etc)

European Court of Human Rights (+/- 3 M€ per annum)

The European Court of Human Rights is an international court with jurisdiction for ruling on applications lodged by individuals or States alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.  Its main expenditure is on:

  • Information technologies (licences, hardware, maintenance etc)
  • Legal publications
  • Specialist stationery (files for its Central office)
  • Archive storage