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Data story 1: The top countries in EU public procurement

With this post, we are starting a series of posts about EU public procurement in the form of data stories using QIC model (Question, information and conclusion, pronounced as KIK model). Please make sure that you read the disclaimer and limitations before making use of the information provided in the data story.


Question: Which are the top buyer countries in EU public procurement?

While the question seems straight forward in the first glance, it actually is not. It is quite broad. When we say top buyer countries, using different criteria we could arrive at different answers. We can have multiple criteria to determine the top buyer countries such as:

  • Based on number of contracts awarded

  • Based on value of the contracts awarded

  • Based on average value of the contracts awarded

  • Based on number of buyers

  • Based on number of contract notices (shows intention to procure)

And probably many other ways. In this data story, we will provide the answers based on the first 2 criteria. If you would like to know the answers for rest, let us know. We would be happy to provide.


Information: Before we get to the top buyer countries in EU public procurement question, shouldn't we know in how many countries the buyers are located? You may wonder, shouldn't EU public procurement mean only EU countries? However, that's not the case based on the information we have. For example, if the European Investment Bank is involved in financing the Bengaluru Metro project (which it is – see notice), then the buyer could actually be located in India because that is what the data in the notice tells us. Like this, what we can see from the information in EUPP Analytics is that there are more than 150K buyers that are part of the EU public procurement that are spread across in 162 countries.

Now let’s see the answers to the question based on the first 2 criteria.


Top 25 buyer countries in EU public procurement based on the number of contracts awarded


Top 25 buyer countries in EU public procurement based on the total value of contracts awarded

Conclusion: Some of the conclusions that we can draw from the information that we have are:

  • The country that awards the most (Romania) is not necessarily the country (United Kingdom) that has awarded the maximum total contract award value.

  • Buyers are not necessarily based in EU country, even though it is mentioned as EU public procurement.

  • The contract award value of United Kingdom’s procurements needs to be checked more closely for unattended data quality issues. And if found, needs further cleansing.

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EU spends ~2 trillion euros per annum on public procurement. All EU procurement data above EU threshold and many contracts awarded below threshold is available in TED (Tenders electronic daily) data.