As from today, the Competition Register for Public Procurement kept by the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) is in full operation. Before awarding public contracts, contracting authorities are now required by law to search the Competition Register to find out whether there are any exclusion grounds. The purely electronic Competition Register lists companies which have committed serious breaches of the law that exclude them from bidding in the context of procurement procedures. This includes convictions for specific economic offences, e.g. corruption and tax evasion. Until now, contracting authorities had to rely on self-declarations made by the bidding companies and search the corruption registers that exist in some of the Länder. From today, searching the corruption registers at regional level is no longer necessary.
As from 1 June, contracting authorities need to search the Competition Register, and companies and natural persons have the possibility to find out what details about them are contained in the Competition Register (right to extract one’s own information from the register). In addition, official bodies can now also search the register to pre-qualify companies.
On 29 October 2021, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy had declared in the respective mandatory publication in the Federal Gazette that the technical requirements for the operation of the register have been met. Since 1 December 2021, authorities required to make reports have been obliged to report relevant offences that must be included in the register to the Bundeskartellamt. Since then, contracting authorities have also had the possibility to search the Competition Register on a voluntary basis.