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Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important. In the wake of cyberattacks on the German parliament, the foreign office, and on prominent public figures, there is now greater awareness of the need for the State and companies to protect the integrity of their existing IT systems. The following article will provide an overview of some of the particularities that arise in the procurement of cybersecurity goods and services. Another article explains how a public contracting entity can achieve a higher standard of cybersecurity in its procurement procedures.

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The World Bank Group (WBG) published its Sanctions System Annual Report Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), covering the Bank’s actions from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. According to the Annual Report, the Integrity Vice Presidency has started 46 new investigations and submitted 26 cases and 22 settlements to the Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD). The OSD is headed by the Chief Suspension and Debarment Officer (SDO), who has temporarily suspended 30 firms and sanctioned 19 respondents via uncontested determinations. In FY20, seven firms and individuals were sanctioned by the Sanctions Board in six decisions arising from contested cases that can be found here.

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The relevance of cybersecurity has increased rapidly. Recently, cyberattacks on the German parliament, the German federal foreign office, and several German prominent public figures have highlighted the importance of securing the integrity of data systems, and of coordination between businesses and state actors in Germany. Similar incidents have had the same effect in other countries. This has in turn led to an increase in trading opportunities and demand for cybersecurity products throughout the world.

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Our contribution to the new GCR tool on Vertical Restraints, which has just been released, is now online and available free-to-view on the GCR website. We have contributed the Germany section, which covers legislation and cases on various topics, including Resale Price Maintenance (RPM), Most Favourite Nation Clauses (MFNs), Non-Compete Obligations, Territorial Restrictions, and Selective Distribution. The tool is a helpful reference for many other jurisdictions worldwide with contributions from selected competition specialists .

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Strengthening cooperation in defence and security procurement among member States has become an important concern of the European Union. Last year, the Commission addressed the issue of joint procurement in the defence and security sector in a separate guidance note. The Commission stressed the need for more cooperation in order to reduce costs, promote cross-border competition and facilitate cooperation between the European armed forces. In particular due to PESCO and the EDF, more joint procurement procedures are to be expected.

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On 22 September 2020, the first session of the Fifth International Debarment Colloquium hosted by the World Bank Office of Suspension and Debarment and IBA’s Debarment and Exclusions Subcommittee was held virtually. BLOMSTEIN partner Roland Stein was invited to speak as a panellist about the EU’s exclusion system.

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For some years now, Brussels has been discussing how to use public procurement law more actively as an instrument of trade policy. The EU has made efforts to end unequal market access for European companies in third countries and to reduce distortions of competition through various measures, such as the rapid signing of bilateral investment agreements. This is due to the fact, that while the EU has largely opened its public procurement markets to companies from third countries, many of these countries do not grant comparable access to EU companies. Moreover, unregulated state subsidies can contribute significantly to unfair competition and play a decisive role in future relations with third countries.

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Yesterday, we co-hosted the first “Christ&Company Dialogue” on restrictions on foreign direct investments together with Christ&Company.

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Trade law compliance and public procurement law expert Bruno Andrioli Galvão joined BLOMSTEIN as independent Senior Trade Advisor in September 2020.

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The latest edition of the journal of export controls and sanctions WorldECR has just been released. BLOMSTEIN lawyers Florian Wolf and Leonard von Rummel have contributed an article about the Franco-German military cooperation with regard to export control matters.

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