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EP adopts tougher rules for debtors


20 Oct 2010

Strasbourg, 20 October 2010


Good news for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Europe: The European Parliament has voted today by a large majority in favour of a report which aims to protect those companies in Europe from illiquidity and bankruptcy that have to wait too long for their customers' payments by introducing maximum payment periods. The new directive is predicted to increase liquidity of European companies by almost € 180 billion a year. A compromise on this issue for a first reading agreement had been recently found in the negotiations, and is now confirmed by Parliament as a whole.


Jürgen CREUTZMANN (FDP, Germany), ALDE coordinator on the report, welcomes the agreed compromise: "This is a step forward for all companies, in particular for SME. The EP - and also our group - was clearly successful in having key points included."


"In opposition to the hitherto existing practice powerful debtors will no longer be able to impose long payment periods. Serving as an example for Better Regulation, the directive can simply be summarized as follows:


Firstly: For transactions between public sector operators and private companies all invoices have to be paid within 30 days; special justification is required to delay payment beyond 30 days, while the 60-day deadline cannot be exceeded under any circumstances.


Secondly: For business-to-business transactions all invoices have to be paid within 30 days if nothing else is agreed, otherwise businesses can agree to a period of max. 60 days; this however can be exceeded if expressly agreed and not grossly unfair to the creditor.


Thirdly: If these terms of payment are exceeded, recovery costs of at least € 40 plus interests of at least 8 per cent above the ECB reference rate can be billed without prior reminder."



For further information

Neil Corlett: +33-3-88 17 41 67 or +32-478-78 22 84


Axel Heyer: +33-3-88 17 23 27 or +32-485-10 33 39

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