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Public procurement and the erosion of the EU social model: Outline of a Polanyian perspective and the emerging regulatory role of human rights

Public procurement and the erosion of the EU social model: Outline of a Polanyian perspective and the emerging regulatory role of human rights

Methven Obrien, Claire and Martin-Ortega, Olga ORCID: 0000-0002-1779-0120 (2020) Public procurement and the erosion of the EU social model: Outline of a Polanyian perspective and the emerging regulatory role of human rights. In: Rodríguez Pablo Jesús, MartÍn and MartÍn Luis Miguel, Hinojosa, (eds.) International Markets Regulation and the Erosion of the European Political and Social Model. Thomson Reuters, Madrid, pp. 239-259. ISBN 978-8491976028 (doi:https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3437753)

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Abstract

Public procurement serves as one plane for the playing out of continuing tensions between the predominantly competitive logic of international market regulation and Europe’s social and human rights values. In this chapter we seek to demonstrate this dynamic and also to argue that human rights should be established as an explicit dimension within European sustainable procurement norms as a step in rebalancing this contest towards protection of the European social model.

Section 2 provides necessary context by sketching the contours of public procurement law, with a focus on the EU. Section 3 highlights states’ duties to protect human rights arising under international treaties and new norms on business, human rights, supply chains and sustainability that articulate these in the procurement context. Thus, together, sections 2 and 3 demonstrate the contrasting roles and duties of the state as buyer, given that procurement and human rights norms each “constrain the legal framework governing markets and limit the sovereign powers of the States to regulate them” in contrasting ways. Section 4 outlines a Polanyian analysis of persisting tensions between competitive logic and human rights values in the public procurement context, an approach that, we contend, illuminates important connections between apparently specialist discussions about public procurement and human rights and today’s broader controversies about the social and political sustainability of Europe’s integrated market economy. We further illustrate how orthodox, competition-based procurement law perspectives threaten EU procurement law’s potential to advance social values in Europe, thus demonstrating that “market regulation is not merely technical” but profoundly political and value-laden. Section 5 concludes.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: public procurement, European Union, supply chain, human rights, Polany
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Crime, Law & (In)Security Research Group (CLS)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2021 02:37
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/28278

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