EU countries and the European Commission decided to introduce a European Standard for eInvoicing in response to the many eInvoice formats used across the EU. These varied formats cause unnecessary complexity and high costs for businesses and public entities. While all contracting authorities will have to accept electronic invoices that comply with the European norm, nationally specific rules will remain valid. In other words, the Commission’s initiative will result in a norm and not in a European eInvoicing infrastructure. The latter will be supplied by service providers on the market.
Each EU and EEA country has a unique approach to eInvoicing. In the country factsheets, you can learn more about each country's:
The European Commission supports eInvoicing through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eInvoicing Building Block. CEF eInvoicing currently offers:
This collaborative space enables stakeholders interested in eInvoicing policy and market developments to exchange experiences and best practice on cross-border eInvoicing. It is open for use by the entire eInvoicing user community (all public administrations and private actors dealing with eInvoicing in Europe) to disseminate information, co-create the future and learn from one another.
Compared to paper invoices, eInvoices are easier to process, they reach the customer faster and can be stored centrally at very low cost. A report (5 MB) predicts potential annual benefits of up to €40 billion across Europe in the business-to-business field alone.
Some of the main benefits from eInvoicing include:
At the same time however, eInvoicing faces obstacles such as:
The Commission-funded European Committee for Standardization (CEN) runs a number of activities on issues related to eInvoicing implementation.
A series of informal meetings with representatives of standards organisations produced the report 'eInvoicing Standardisation Overview, issues and conclusions for future actions', September 2012 (291 kB).
Following the adoption of the eInvoicing Directive 2014/55/EU and in accordance with the provisions of Article 3 within, the Commission issued a standardisation request (79 KB) (annex, 92 KB) to the European standardisation organisations in December 2014. The work is being carried out by the CEN Project Committee on Electronic Invoicing (CEN/PC 434).
Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), EU funding is available to support eInvoicing activities. Every year, call for grants are launched to select projects which can use EU money to set-up, upgrade and deploy eInvoicing solutions.