Where: Brussels, Belgium
Organiser: European Commission
Every day across Europe, dozens of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) go bankrupt as their invoices are not paid. The European Union therefore adopted legal provisions to end late payments. By 16th March 2013 Member States will need to have integrated the revised Late Payments Directive in commercial transactions into their national law. It obliges public authorities to pay for goods and services within 30 days or, in very exceptional circumstances, within 60 days, the interest rate in case of non-compliance will be of at least 8%. Businesses should pay their invoices within 60 days, unless they expressly agree otherwise and if it is not grossly unfair to the creditor.
It is particularly difficult for SMEs to stand up for their right to prompt payment. Late payments can lead to high costs in terms of time and money, and a dispute can sour relations with customers. In the current economic situation this damaging payment culture in Europe is also often aggravated by difficulties of SMEs in obtaining access to credit.
Directive 2011/7/EU is the EU’s tool to combat overdue payments, providing a legal framework for pursuing debtors. The Directive’s main provisions include the setting of a maximum period for the receipt of payment for goods and services in commercial transactions with public authorities, conferring more rights to enterprises facing late payment, increasing transparency and awareness and increasing the statutory interest rate.
A press release and press memo will be available on the day.