1. In competitive procedures with negotiation, any economic operator may submit a request to participate in response to a call for competition containing the information set out in Annex XIV, Part I, letters B and C by providing the information requested by the contracting authority for qualitative selection.
2. In the procurement documents, contracting authorities shall identify the subject-matter of the procurement by providing a description of their needs, define the characteristics required of the supplies, works or services to be procured while specifying the contract award criteria and also indicate which elements of the description define the minimum requirements to be met by all tenders.
3. The information provided shall be sufficiently precise to enable economic operators to identify the nature and scope of the procurement and decide whether to participate in the procedure.
4. The minimum time limit for receipt of requests to participate shall be 30 days from the date on which the contract notice or, where a prior information notice is used as a means of calling for competition, the invitation to confirm interest was sent. The minimum time limit referred to in this paragraph shall be reduced in cases provided for in Article 61, paragraphs 4, 5 and 6.
5. The time limit for the receipt of initial tenders shall be of 30 days from the date in which the invitation was sent. The time limits referred to in this paragraph shall be reduced in cases provided for in Article 61, paragraphs 4, 5 and 6.
6. Only those economic operators invited by the contracting authority following its assessment of the information provided may submit an initial tender which shall be the basis for the subsequent negotiations. Contracting authorities may limit the number of suitable candidates to be invited to participate in the procedure in accordance with Article 91.
7. Unless otherwise provided for in paragraph 8, contracting authorities shall negotiate with economic operators their initial and all subsequent tenders submitted by them, except for the final tenders within the meaning of paragraph 12, to improve the content thereof. The minimum requirements and the award criteria shall not be subject to negotiations.
8. Contracting authorities may award contracts on the basis of the initial tenders without negotiation where this possibility is provided in the contract notice or in the invitation to confirm interest. During the negotiations, contracting authorities shall ensure the equal treatment of all tenderers. To that end, they shall not provide information which may give some tenderers an advantage over others. They shall inform in writing all tenderers, whose tenders have not been eliminated pursuant to paragraph 11, of any changes to the technical specifications or other procurement documents, other than those setting out the minimum requirements. Following these changes, contracting authorities shall provide sufficient time for tenderers to modify and re-submit amended tenders, as appropriate.
10. Contracting authorities, within the limits of what provided for in Article 53, shall not reveal to the other participants confidential information communicated by a candidate or a tenderer participating in the negotiations without their agreement. Such agreement shall not take the form of a general waiver but shall be given with reference to the expressly intended communication of specific information.
11. Competitive procedures with negotiation may take place in successive stages in order to reduce the number of tenders to be negotiated by applying the award criteria specified in the contract notice, in the invitation to confirm interest or in another procurement document. In the contract notice, the invitation to confirm interest or in another procurement document, the contracting authority shall indicate whether it will use that option.
12. Where the contracting authorities intend to conclude the negotiations, they shall inform the remaining tenderers and set a common deadline to submit any new or revised tenders. They shall verify that the final tenders are in conformity with the minimum requirements and comply with Article 94, assess the final tenders on the basis of the award criteria and award the contract in accordance with Articles 95, 96 and 97.
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