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Late Payment Information Campaign

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Companies go bankrupt waiting to be paid. Jobs are lost. Dreams die. Across the European Union, paying suppliers late is common. It costs little and is considered acceptable. But it does great harm. Every year, hundreds of thousands of European businesses have closed waiting for late payments. Small and medium-sized enterprises are particularly exposed to late payment, and business selling across borders are especially vulnerable. The late payment culture has to change, and the European Union is equipping business with the tools to make this change happen.

Late payments constitute a major obstacle to the free movement of goods and services in the single market and could substantially distort competition. The resulting administrative and financial burdens impede cross-border trade. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the craft sector are most vulnerable. Despite the adoption and application of Directive 2000/35/EC on combating late payment in commercial transactions, late payment is still a common practice across the European Union.

The reality for European enterprises, and especially for SMEs, is that late payment for goods delivered and services provided leads them into bankruptcy, with the direct effect of increasing unemployment. As a result the entire European economy is negatively affected by this phenomenon.

In order to protect European businesses, in particular SMEs, against late payment and to improve their competitiveness, a new Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions was adopted on 16 February 2011 and should have been integrated into national law by Member States by 16 March 2013 at the latest.


The European Commission is organising the Late Payment Information Campaign in the 28 Member States from October 2012 to December 2014. The aim of this campaign is to increase awareness amongst European stakeholders, in particular SMEs, and within public authorities on the new rights conferred by Directive 2011/7/EU.

These events will also provide a forum for the exchange of best practices and help businesses to tackle late payment issues. While addressing the business environment, the information campaign will focus in particular on SMEs, as they are most affected by the current culture of late payment across the EU.

For these events, the European Commission will also invite speakers from:

  • the national authority in charge of the transposition of the Directive,
  • the Enterprise Europe Network,

as well as national and regional experts in the subject.


Half-day events are being organised in all Member States in 2012-2014. A list of dates will be announced and regularly updated on this site.


Invitations to the events will be sent to organisations representing SMEs, policy makers representing national or regional authorities, chambers of commerce, business associations, entrepreneurs, economic operators, legal professions and the judiciary.

Please do not hesitate to register if you are interested in participating in one of these events.


A new piece of legislation conferring new rights to European businesses in their commercial transactions does not have any impact nor benefit if stakeholders are not aware of it. Therefore, it is crucial that European businesses, in particular SMEs, know their rights and how to best make use of them.

This campaign aims to inform European stakeholders about this Directive and also how to apply its provisions in the real life situations they are facing.


For further information, please contact


Click here to view a full list of events

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