The Regulation establishes a single classification system: the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV). This classification endeavours to cover all requirements for supplies, works and services. By standardising the references used by contracting authorities to describe the subject matter of their contracts, the CPV improves the transparency of public procurement covered by Community directives.

The CPV attaches to each numerical code a description of the subject of the contract, for which there is a version in each of the official languages of the EU. The CPV consists of:

- a main vocabulary containing a series of numerical codes comprising eight digits each and subdivided into divisions, groups, classes and categories. A ninth digit serves to verify the previous digits;
- a supplementary vocabulary expanding the description of the subject of a contract by adding further details regarding the nature or destination of the goods to be purchased.

The list of CPV codes and the tables of correspondence between the CPV and other nomenclatures can be consulted on the Internet site: System of Information on Public Procurement (SIMAP).

To remain effective, the CPV evolves in line with market developments. This is why the structure of the supplementary vocabulary has undergone radical changes, thereby including the characteristics of products and services and reducing the number of codes in the main vocabulary.

The latest review of the CPV was designed to make it more user-friendly by focusing it less on materials and more on products. In addition, the CPV’s hierarchy was rationalised.

Actual CPV structure can be found here.

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