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Italy referred to European Court of Justice for late payments

Monday 8th January, 2018

The European Commission has decided to refer Italy to The European Court of Justice for systemic payments delay by the Italian public authorities in commercial transactions and breaching EU rules on payment arrangements.

According to the Late Payment Directive 2011/7/EU public authorities have to pay for the goods and services they procure within 30 days or, in very exceptional circumstances, within 60 days of receiving the bill.

The Commission attaches great importance in addressing delayed payments by public authorities, which has also been identified in other Member States and strongly pursues enforcement of the Late Payment Directive. Timely payments are particularly important for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as they count on a positive cash-flow to ensure their financial management, competitiveness and in many cases, their survival.

According to The Commission, Italian public authorities still take on average 100 days to settle their invoices after more than three years since the launch of the infringement procedure.

The Commission acknowledges the efforts made by the Italian government to improve the situation since the launch of the infringement procedure with a letter of formal notice in June 2014 and the subsequent reasoned opinion sent in February 2017.