Public procurement is the purchasing of goods, services or works by the public sector. It is regulated by a system of rules deriving from the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. A separate set of rules (but one which stems from the same origins) applies to procurement by utilities; a third regulates the procurement of concession contracts, whether by the public sector or by utilities.
The procurement regime exists to open up public procurement to competition. It does so by setting out a legal framework of rules to govern the award of public contracts, wherever those contracts come within the scope of the rules (by virtue of their nature and subject matter) and exceed certain financial thresholds.
This section focuses principally on the part of the EU (and national) procurement regime applying to the public sector (central and sub-central government, other public-sector bodies and bodies governed by public law). Procurement by utilities and of concession contracts are touched on where appropriate.