PEM lodged a formal objection to the Invitation to tender for the provision of interpreting services issued by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (in accordance with Article 117 of Law 4412/2016) which was issued by Department A (Procurement) / Directorate of Procurement, Logistics and Infrastructure Management / DG Financial Services of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (IAPR) on 22.06.2020.
Moreover, PEM has sent a letter of complaint to the Governor of the IAPR, Mr Georgios Pitsilis.
The invitation to tender includes terms which are in direct contravention of Greek and European law; it limits the number of people eligible to undertake the tendered project even though there are no public interest requirements for doing so; and, at the same time, it devalues all professionals in our field.
In the letter of complaint and the objection, PEM details the points of the tender notice which contravene Greek and European law. These can be summarised as follows:
- Even though it is an international tender procedure, the interested parties are required to be members of a specific Greek association, thereby excluding international competition.
- The requirement that all interested parties be members of the specific Greek association also violates the principle of freedom of association, part of which is the right of any citizen to choose not to be part of any professional association.
- According to the tender notice’s requirements, the necessary experience must have been obtained exclusively through meetings with the Institutions and European Commission’s Technical Assistance team in Greece. This is not a qualitative evaluation criterion nor evidence of an interested party’s ability to perform the task at hand, but merely an unjustified restriction on the number of people eligible to participate in the tender procedure. Therefore, this requirement indirectly supposes that those of our colleagues who have not had the opportunity to provide their services during meetings with the Institutions are not competent and worthy interpreters, irrespective of their professional experience. This directly violates the principle of transparency which should govern the management of public funds.
The aforementioned combined restriction on eligible participants –assuming it is not merely accidental– not only gives rise to, but also tends to confirm, the suspicion that this is a tender process that pinpoints a specific group of individuals.
We are making ongoing efforts at the Panhellenic Association of Translators (PEM) to introduce a National Official Translation and Interpretation System, managed by an independent authority, with a single national official translators and interpreters register.
PEM’s Extraordinary General Meeting held on 26 January 2020 approved the overall proposal on how official translations and official interpreting in Greece should be radically reformed. The proposal was presented by the PEM Board and will be formally sent to the relevant authorities.
Our goal is to mobilise all Greek-speaking translators and interpreters who are university graduates, with a proposal that is fair, just, legally substantiated, and scientifically sound, to prevent, in the future, such practices that devalue professionals in our field, as in the case with this invitation to tender.