Based on analysis of the EU’s public procurement database, the Danish export association Eksportforeningen believes that Denmark isn’t getting enough out of the EU single market, Ugebrevet A4 reports. However, Danish companies win the vast majority of Danish contracts put out to tender.
Of 50,000 EU tenders abroad, Danish companies won just 43 between July 2013 and July 2014. In contrast, Danish companies won 95 percent of Danish tenders in the same period.
According to EU rules, all public procurement orders in excess of a certain amount, which varies depending on the sector, must be put out to a tender that can be competed for by all businesses registered in the EU.
Regarding the tenders in other parts of the EU, Ulrik Dahlm, the head of Eksortforeningen, told Ugebrevet A4 that Danish companies are missing out on opportunities.
“It’s a fundamental problem that we, as a member state of the EU, don’t get as big a slice of the pie,” he said.
“It’s definitely untapped potential. There are worryingly few companies that are eyeing the possibilities.”
Some Danish companies experience protectionism when competing for EU tenders.
Ole Quist Pedersen, a senior public affairs manager at Falck, said that it was often a problem to get judged on the same basis as local companies.
“It comes from the fact that some countries want a particular supplier, preferably a domestic company,” he said.
“Foreign companies are made to seem suspicious.”
Denmark paying over the odds
But when it comes to Denmark’s own public procurement, it is a different story.
Reliance on Danish domestic companies in these cases can push up the cost of public services, Kenneth Skov Jensen, a manager of the Danish competition and consumer authority, warned.
“The consequence of only having Danish offers can be that you pay a higher price,” he said.
“The rule of thumb is that the more offers you get, the lower the price.”
Language difficulties can be a problem for foreign companies securing tenders in Denmark.