e-PRIOR: eProcurement project at the European Commission (e-PRIOR)

Published on: 11/07/2008

e-PRIOR is the e-Procurement solution developed by the European Commission and funded by the former IDABC and current ISA programme, with goal to stimulate the implementation and re-use of interoperable systems in Europe.

e-PRIOR is a service-oriented platform, allowing the European Commission, the European Union Agencies and Institutions and their suppliers to exchange post-award documents by using web services or over the PEPPOL network. Large suppliers can use XML-based communication over the internet, while SMEs can use the Supplier Portal (http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/informatics/supplier_portal/index_en.htm )

e-PRIOR has implemented the CEN/BII e-Procurement standards (e-Catalogues, e-Ordering and e-Invoicing)/

e-PRIOR is available in an open-source version - Open e-PRIOR - which aims at accelerating the implementation of e-Procurement by European Member States in general and the participation to the PEPPOL project in particular.

Policy Context

e-Invoicing Directive 2001/115/EC, incorporated in the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC and replaced by the second VAT Invoicing Directive 2010/45/EU



Public e-Procurement context - see most recent developments, green paper and proposal for new directive on


Description of target users and groups

The target group of e-PRIOR is

- the European Commission DGs, but also the EU Agencies and Institutions

- suppliers, receiving e-Orders and sending e-Invoices; this includes SMEs, who can use the Supplier Portal

- public administrations in EU Member States that can learn and leverage from this project, and in particular re-use Open e-PRIOR to connect to the PEPPOL network

- Other e-Invoicing, e-Procurement and standardization initiatives, such as CEN and PEPPOL

Description of the way to implement the initiative

e-PRIOR is implemented using RUP@EC and is done through different iterations. So far, e-Invoicing, e-Catalogues and e-Ordering have been implemented and are in production. Large suppliers (or their service providers) are asked to connect to the e-PRIOR web services, while SMEs can use the Supplier Portal.

The rest of the full post-awarding procurement process is currently being implemented

  • Sourcing (requests for quotation)
  • Fulfilment (despatch advice)
  • Payment (reminder)

In the meantime, the feasibility of pre-award e-Procurement is being studied.

Technology solution

The name of this e-Procurement solution is e-PRIOR, an acronym for electronic PRocurement, Invoicing and ORdering. This solution allows lare suppliers to use web services for uploading and downloading XML messages: catalogues, orders, invoices, disputes, credit notes, etc.

SMEs can use the Supplier Portal.

The standard for formats and business processes is currently based on CEN/BII 2 specifications (see http://www.cen.eu/CEN/sectors/sectors/isss/activity/Pages/ws_bii.aspx), based on UBL 2.0.

An open-source version - Open e-PRIOR - is freely available on https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/software/openeprior/home

Technology choice: Mainly (or only) open standards

Main results, benefits and impacts

The main purpose of the project is to gain-real life experience with e-Procurement at the European Commission, and to share the lessons learnt and re-usable components with the EU Member States.

Through leading by example, the Commission wants to stimulate the adoption of e-Procurement in Europe.

Providing tools like Open e-PRIOR, will accelerate the participation of EU Member States' public administrations to the pan-European PEPPOL project and ultimately unlock the full potential of it.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

The e-PRIOR booklets (General and Technical Overview) are available on https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/software/openeprior/document/information-and-communication-material

The Analysis of Business Requirements for eInvoicing in a Public Procurement Context is available at http://www.epractice.eu/en/library/288906

The demo movie of the prototype ("Basic Invoice") is available on YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azLeZIorrDs&fmt=18

The demo movie of e-PRIOR including "Invoice with Dispute" supporting e-Invoicing, disputes and credit notes is available on http://www.epractice.eu/en/tv/290845

The e-Catalogue Feasibility Study: http://www.epractice.eu/en/library/297017

The e-Catalogue Gap Analysis: http://www.epractice.eu/en/library/344054

The e-Catalogue Demo Movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHGI7re4Q_k

Lessons learnt

Major lesson learnt is that implementing e-Procurement is not about replicating or simulating paper processes, but about automating and optimizing processes, improving data quality and aligning customers' and suppliers' processes with each other.

We also learnt that collaboration with private sector (e.g. e-Invoicing service providers) has been very successful in terms of onboarding suppliers.

You may have the perfect technological solution, the change management aspect remains one of the crucial elements to make the project a real success.



Scope: International


Tue, 01/12/2020 - 16:43

I am looking for a simple 'Getting Started on ePrior for suppliers' Guide.  I have hunted high and low.  I was directed to this page (https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/collection/eprocurement/document/e-prior-ep…) by several links.  

The links that look as if they might be useful are broken - https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/software/openeprior/document/information-and-communication-material and http://www.epractice.eu/en/library/288906 

This should not be so difficult.

Wed, 02/12/2020 - 11:49

Dear Paul,

From a check we did, we have identified the following two links that seem to match what you are looking for:

You could also check the Solution Open e-PRIOR which contains more up-to-date information.

Best regards,

The Joinup Support Team