EU thresholds in the procurement procedure

Table of contents

Reaching and exceeding the threshold

Which legal regulations apply to a procurement procedure depends on whether a certain threshold value is reached. If the estimated contract value (excluding value-added tax) exceeds the specified threshold, a Europe-wide invitation to tender must be issued. Separate threshold values must be observed for each of the different types of contracts. The following table shows the current values for the different types of contracts. The threshold values are redefined by the EU Commission every two years. The values listed here apply from 1st of January 2022, until probably the end of 2023.

Table of threshold values

Category of contract Threshold (excl. VAT)
Construction contracts 5.382 million Euro
Construction & service concessions 5.382 million Euro
defense & security-related defense and service contracts 431,000 Euro
Supply & service contracts from sector contracting authorities 431,000 Euro
Supply and service contracts awarded by "traditional" public-sector clients 215,000 Euro
Supply and service contracts of the highest and upper federal authorities 140,000 Euro
Social and other special services for contracting authorities 750,000 Euro
Social and other special services for sector contracting authorities 1,000,000 Euro

Did you know?

The EU thresholds are decisive for the application of EU procurement regulations. They determine the contract value above which the construction, supply or service must be put out to tender throughout Europe. The exact values can change from year to year, so you should always obtain the latest values from the European Commission or other reliable sources.

Some possible errors related to EU thresholds could include:

  1. Incorrect calculation of contract value: thresholds refer to the estimated total value of a contract. It is essential to estimate the contract value in accordance with procurement law. Sources of error lie, for example, in the addition of services. It is not always clear at first glance which services are to be added together. Avoidance: Make sure that you calculate the total value of the order correctly. Check which services are to be added. Include all costs and fees associated with the procurement.


  1. Contract splitting to avoid thresholds: it is illegal from a procurement law perspective to artificially split a contract to stay below the EU thresholds and thus avoid the application of EU procurement rules. Avoidance: artificial contract splitting should be avoided. Even if several contracts are awarded separately, but they are functionally related, the total value of the contracts may still reach or exceed the thresholds.


  1. Failure to take into account changes in thresholds: thresholds can change, and it is important to know and take into account the current values. Avoidance: Periodically, at the latest following your contract value estimate, review the current thresholds published by the European Commission. Also note when the next change is planned for if you do not yet know when you will publish your tender. The relevant threshold value is the one at the time the procurement procedure is initiated.


  1. Misapplication of the rules: If the value of a contract exceeds the thresholds, EU procurement rules must be applied. If you are not confident in their application, there may be consequential procurement violations. Avoidance: make sure you fully understand EU procurement rules and apply them correctly when the value of a contract exceeds the thresholds to avoid legal disputes.


With knowledge of these common sources of error, contracting agencies can take adequate steps to avoid them. A smooth procurement process that complies with procurement law is promoted, and legal risks are minimized.

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