Late Payments Directive

The European Parliament has been discussing the recast of a Directive adopted to combat late payment in commercial transactions between businesses or between businesses and public authorities. On 28 April the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market (IMCO) adopted a report by the rapporteur Barbara Weiler relating to the recast imposing strict payment deadlines. CEPI welcomes attention to the cash-flow problems of companies and especially SMEs.
The recast of Directive 2000/35/EC on combating late payment in commercial transactions aims at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of remedies for late payment. Evidence shows that late payment in commercial transactions remains a problem in the EU.

The amendment of the Late Payments Directive was one of four legislative proposals contained in the Small Business Act. Legislation on late payments varies widely across Europe and there is concern about the cash-flow problems which this causes. The report adopted on the recast of the Directive by IMCO proposes the imposition of strict payment deadlines on public authorities and private enterprises, 30 days which may be extended to 60 days under certain conditions.

The original intention was to limit these changes to the public sector, but the Parliament has insisted on the inclusion of private enterprises. The approved text also abolishes the flat rate compensation of 5% of the invoice total, which would have been required in the event of late payment, plus interest.

It is now expected that the proposed recast will have its first reading at a plenary session of the Parliament in mid May.
The draft report by Barbara Weiler is available on the Parliament's website