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EC urges four Member States to comply with Late Payment Directive

Monday 20th February, 2017

The European Commission is taking further steps against Greece, Italy, Slovakia and Spain to ensure the correct application of the Late Payment Directive (Directive 2011/7/EU) and prevent losses to businesses – particularly with SMEs in these countries.

These steps will help reduce late payment by public authorities in Italy and Slovakia (Health Sector only) and update legislation to enforce terms in Greece and Spain.

The Late Payments Directive equips creditors with strengthened rights by putting in place time limits for payments by businesses and public authorities when procuring goods or services. To discourage a culture of late payments, public administrations play a particularly important role in setting an example in promptly and transparently paying their suppliers.

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "Late payments are a major burden for Europe's companies, especially small ones. Being able to rely on timely remuneration from their contractors allows businesses to do their job and deliver for their customers and employees. By asking Member States to respect the rules on late payments, we are protecting businesses and helping EU's competitiveness."

These four Member States have two months to notify the Commission of measures they have taken to remedy the situation.

The Late Payment Directive means public authorities have to pay for the goods and services that they procure within 30 days or, exceptionally within 60 days. In business-to-business (B2B) transactions the limit is 60 days unless expressly agreed otherwise.

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