Steen Treumer has sadly passed away

September 5, 2021

It is with a very heavy heart that we share the sad news that professor Steen Treumer, Copenhagen University has passed away .
Steen was among the founders of the EPLG and a co-editor of the EPLG series. In 2008 he was among the few who first met in Orta San Giulio to discuss in house providing. Enthusiast about the project, he gladly accepted both to be one of our series editor, and to edit the first volume with Mario Comba, the brain father of this academic venture. While some publisher gave us a cold shoulder not believing in the relevance of comparative law as a tool to better understand EU public procurement law, he pulled his contacts and built a solid partnership with DJØF of Copenhagen. DJØF would go on to publish our first seven books, five of them co-edited by Steen!
Steen organised our third meeting, the first outside Italy, in 2009, starting our studies remedies he was so keen on. When the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption caused the Nottingham University Global Public Procurement Revolution to be much scaled down, stopping most non-UK based participants from attending, Steen was fast in organising what turned out to be so much more than a makeup event in Copenhagen.
It was then that, after a merry (and delicious) dinner in a restaurant on a boat, Steen told us he was diagnosed with this terrible muscular degenerative illness. And he vowed to fight on. And he indeed fought on valiantly, against all odds, beating many times over the dire predictions of his physicians. He moved to a new flat, basically transformed it in a gym to build back his muscles. Still the place was cozy, in the best Nordic tradition, and he was welcoming, and would pour a glass of wine for his guests, even if he was no longer drinking. He spared no energy and no trick to push the illness back. All the way, he did not complain, thankful instead for every additional day he could wrestle from death.
With some help, he could still join us in beautiful München in 2014 for the meeting organised by Martin Burgi, he himself one of our founding members, who had recently moved to that university. Steen participated in the meeting and the dinner in a beautiful biergarten. This was the last in person EPLG meeting for Steen, having to stop travelling well before the pandemics grounded us all. But he was always present in all our meetings, online, and even more so in the many emails he exchanged with his co-editor and with other colleagues to prepare forthcoming books and to preside over the slow enlargement of the EPLG to include new, younger colleagues.
As many members of EPLG bear witness to, Steen was indeed incredibly supportive of young scholars and always keen to discuss innovative ideas. He was never dismissive. As only the wisest mentors do, Steen provided suggestions to make PHDs’ arguments stronger rather than trying to push his own ideas. Pedro Telles’ words at echo very much what the young generation of public procurement scholars feel.
At the time of his passing, Steen was still working on our forthcoming book on contract modifications. It was one of his favourite topics, having written on this early on in a seminal article on the PPLR. He was being wise about what commitments to take. Much to his regret it turned down Elgar’s offer to co-edit what is becoming the European Public Procurement book among Elgar Commentaries. But contract modifications was really his thing and he very much hoped to still be able to meet in Copenhagen to work on this topic. We were just postponing the date, as any Spring cold make it harder for him to work his muscles back.
His co-editor can bear witness not just to his wisdom when having a conversation about potential new EPLG members. What struck more was his strong empathy and humanity. Steen was never ever talking down anyone. When he was unsure about anyone, it was never about any personal issue or character. He never asked for more than some further consideration. It never was more than an online/email raised eyebrows, if there is anything like this. Steen was never pushy or even overbearing, and in academia this might have costed him something. But his colleagues in procurement could all work well and easily with him.
Steen’s work was much larger than EPLG. He led cutting edge research on other topics such as remedies, competitive dialogue, also editing a book on the latter topic together with Sue Arrowsmith, and selection criteria. His studies on the latter topic were referred to by Advocate general Wathelet in his opinion in Ambisig, effectively convincing the Court of Justice to abandon its rigid separation between selection and award criteria. He was an early and convinced proponent of interdisciplinary studies in procurement. With Rome’s Gustavo Piga, he edited the first book on the law and economics of public procurement published by Routledge. He was an Editor of the PPLR, the leading journal on public procurement-
In Denmark Steen was the first to do a PhD in Public Procurement Law – a Thesis on the principle of equal treatment (Ligebehandlingsprincippet, Djøf Publishing 2000). His Thesis received a price from Spar Nord Fonden for an excellent research project. In 2007 he established the Danish Association for Public Procurement, and over the year he invited many EPLG Members to Copenhagen to give presentations to the members of the association. All though Steen’s international activities was reduced over the years due to his illness, he remained an active speaker at the main Danish Procurement events and he will be missed for his insights and humor. For many years he was an expert member of the Danish Complaints Board for Public Procurement and took part in some principal cases, and references to the CJEU included the latest Simonsen & Wehl.
Steen was the kindest colleague we could ever think of. He had a great wry Nordic sense of humour which he displayed even when talking about his condition. He could outwit anyone, but never abused his capacities. His smile just let it appear that he knew more.
We will miss him infinitely.
His EPLG friends