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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 payments. Small and medium-sized enterprises are particularly exposed to late payment, and businesses 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, 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. This Directive puts in place stricter measures than its precedent, harmonizing payment periods for payment by public authorities to businesses for the first time.

The Late Payment Information Campaign

In order to increase awareness amongst European stakeholders, in particular SMEs, and within public authorities on the new rights conferred by Directive 2011/7/EU, the European Commission organised the Late Payment Information Campaign in the 28 Member States. This campaign ran from October 2012 to July 2014. These events provided a forum for the exchange of best practices to help businesses tackle late payment issues. While addressing the business environment, the information campaign focused in particular on SMEs, as they are most affected by the culture of late payment across the EU.


The European Commission invited speakers from a variety of fields including:
• the national authority in charge of the transposition of the Directive
• national and regional experts in the subject
• credit managers and debt collectors
• the Enterprise Europe Network


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


For further information, please contact


Click here to view a full list of events that have taken place
A closing seminar will also take place in Brussels on 18 November 2014.


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