Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Action 7: Fix a date for migration to Single European Payment & eInvoicing

The action aims at ensuring the completion of the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), by proposing legal measures fixing an end-date for migration before 2010 and facilitate the emergence of an interoperable European e-invoicing framework through a Communication on e-invoicing and by establishing a multi-stakeholder forum.

The proposal for a Single Euro Payment Area migration end-date was adopted in December 2010. The Communication on e-Invoicing was adopted on 2 December 2010. The Green paper on card, Internet and mobile payments was adopted on 11 January 2012.

What is the problem? there is a need to implement a single market for payments and e-invoicing

A fully implemented Single European Payment Area (SEPA) could generate net benefits of € 123 billion over six years for the market as a whole. Pan-European payment instruments, such as SEPA credit transfers and direct debits, reduce the costs of payments, increase competition and make cross-border payments as easy as domestic ones. Replacing paper invoices by e-invoices across the EU could lead to roughly € 240 billion in savings over a six-year period, according to studies. On the basis of these savings, the Commission wants e-invoicing to become the predominant method of invoicing in Europe by 2020. In the case of the public sector, a preliminary estimate indicates that in the next few years, savings of approximately €1 billion per year could potentially be achieved if all invoices were submitted in electronic format.

Why is EU action needed?

Migration towards internal market in payment and electronic invoicing needs to take place at European level in order to streamline both internal and cross-border transactions online. To this end, the Commission has already taken several actions:

What has the Commission done so far and what are the next steps?

Internal market in payments

The Commission proposed the regulation setting EU-wide end-dates for the migration of old national credit transfers and direct debits to pan-European SEPA instruments by 1st of February 2014. The regulation entered into force in March 2012.

See also Action 104.

VAT and e-invoicing

Action 11 deals with the legal aspects related to VAT and e-invoicing

The Communication of 2nd December 2010 on e-invoicing defines a set of tangible actions to facilitate the uptake of e-invoices in Europe. In particular, the Commission called on Member States to set up national multi-stakeholder fora on e-invoicing and established a multi-stakeholder forum at European level.

The last meeting of the European multi-stakeholder forum took place in September 2012.

In the "Single Market Act II" the Commission announced an additional action on e-invoicing which aims at making it a standard mode of invoicing in public procurement.

Progress Report
Status: Completed Jorgen Gren Jorgen Gren