Tajani urges again Member States for the instant implementation of European Late Payments Directive
The latest report on access to credit published by the European Central Bank in collaboration with the European Commission shows a deterioration of the conditions of access to credit for SMEs. In the October report only two out of three enterprises were able to obtain the credit requested. Data published on Friday show that 20% of SMEs consider that the situation got even worse in the last three months.
Tajani made the following statement:
"Since the beginning of my mandate access to capital for SMEs is at the top of my agenda, also with particular reference to the late payments, which is one of the most serious problems for the European economy.
Currently, the public administrations of the 27 Member States owe to enterprises about 180 billion euros of outstanding debts, which could be an injection of energy into the real economy.
For this reason, I promoted the adoption of a directive which forces all public bodies to pay their debt within thirty days - sixty days for limited exceptions. After this period, public administration would pay 8% overdue interest plus the reference rate of the ECB. This Directive entered into force last year and it has to be implemented in each Member State by 6th March, 2013, otherwise Member States will face the opening of infringement procedures by the European Commission.
Europe is experiencing an unprecedented economic and social challenge, with a very high number of bankruptcies of and job losses. This is also due to late payments. There's no time to lose.
If Member States demand austerity on the fiscal front, they should also be able to meet their commitments. Not fulfilling the obligation to pay promptly – which is a moral obligation before a legal one - means to contribute increasing SMEs bankruptcy.
This is the reason why in October I wrote to the 27 Member States' Ministers to ask to implement the Directive in advance. Some States adhered to the request, but many others have not yet made specific commitments.
I intend to renew my appeal with a second letter to ask the relevant Ministers to provide me with an update of the state of play of the transposition of the Directive. I will also stress the extreme urgency of its implementation into national law to deal with a situation which is getting more and more serious."