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European Commission welcomes progress on proposal to help recover cross-border debts

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Our initiative on cross-border debt recovery will cut costs and save time for businesses, which are trying to get their money back in economically difficult times

The European Commission has welcomed progress on a proposal to make life easier for citizens and businesses in the European Union’s Single Market, following a vote today in the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI).

The Committee voted to back the Commission’s proposal to make it easier for businesses and consumers to recover money from a debtor
in another EU country. "Today’s vote by the Legal Affairs Committee is another step forward for a Europe for citizens and a Europe which helps small businesses," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. “Our initiative on cross-border debt recovery will cut costs and save time for businesses, which are trying to get their money back in economically difficult times. Thanks to the committed work of rapporteur Raffaele Baldassarre MEP, I am confident that this important initiative will soon become law to lend an extra helping hand to citizens and
business alike."

Next steps:
Following the vote by the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee the draft Directive will now be discussed by Justice Ministers meeting in the Justice Council on 6 June 2013. Work will then continue under the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU.

Background

If a small business or consumer needs to recover a cross-border debt, the current situation in the 27 Member States is legally complicated, time consuming and expensive. Around 1 million small businesses face problems with cross-border debts and up to €600 million a year in debt is unnecessarily written off because businesses find it too daunting to pursue expensive, confusing lawsuits in foreign countries.

Typical problems range from differences in national law to the costs of hiring an additional lawyer and translating documents. Individuals face similar difficulties when seeking to get their money back from a rogue trader or maintenance defaulter in another EU country. The European Commission proposal for a Europe-wide preservation order therefore aims to ease the recovery of cross-border debts for both citizens and businesses.

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