Status update, August 31, 2023
In her State of the Union address in September 2022, President Von der Leyen announced the revision of Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions. This measure is one of the actions that will be put in place to terminate the culture of late payment and its consequences over businesses. An essential aspect of the late payment problem is the lack of information on late payment. Therefore, a Commercials’ Transactions’ European Late Payment Observatory is to be created. To date, such an Observatory has only existed in France, while it is under study in Spain.
DG GROW and EISMA have commissioned the consultancies CEPS and VVA to create this Observatory within 2 years.
One of the components of this Observatory is the Stakeholder's Forum, composed of associations, information providers, and administrations with experience in the problem of late payments.
FEBIS is represented at the Stakeholder's Forum by Silvia Amaral, Secretary General of the federation and Nathalie Gianese, Studies Director at Informa, whom she also represents.
FEBIS represents over 150 companies in the business information sector and runs an internal working group on the topic of late payments, being therefore in position to contribute with its expertise in payment behaviour.
The project was launched in April, with a first meeting of the Forum to outline the main objectives of the European Observatory:
- The collection and validation of payment data, which entails metrics’ identification and validation, as well as the creation of an indicators database.
- The classification of documentation on legislation and other initiatives to combat late payments (for example, best practices).
- Analysis and dissemination of information through reports and events.
To date, several meetings have taken place, as reflected in the planning below. In November, a general assembly will be held in Bilbao in the framework of the SME week.
The first thematic meeting took place on May 22nd to discuss the sources of information available within the EU to deal with payment deadlines. In this first session, the Observatory developers shared the first version of all the sources found in each of the covered countries. The aim is to have indicators to cover all 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein in the period between 2017 and 2022. The compilation process of these indicators highlights the problems found, when trying to have homogeneous data: sources’ coverage, discrepancies in the data according to the sectors and, above all, differences in methodologies.
In June, the meeting focused on preventive measures existing in some countries, such as: introducing stricter payment deadlines, requiring greater transparency in payment practices, establishing sanctions, implementing stricter conditions in contracts between large and small companies or limiting access to subsidies. FEBIS highlighted that using commercial credit information is one of the preventive measures companies can use to fight the effects of late payments.
In July the Observatory's website was launched including information on the project: the composition of the Observatory and the Stakeholder Forum and the first version of the indicator database for all EEA countries (except Liechtenstein). At the moment, the data is limited and focuses only on payment delays, but will be complemented in the future. Several FEBIS members, including INFORMA, have been chosen to provide payment behaviour indicators on a regular basis.
Moreover, also available on the Web are the legislative texts of each country, with a description of their contents and their categorisation by type of initiative and their coverage. A first newsletter with information on all the Observatory's activities has been released and you can subscribe to it to be updated on all the activities.
Take a look at the EU Payment Observatory Web: