Late payments: Average payment period decreasing, but more progress needed

The European Commission adopted today a Report on the implementation of the Late Payment Directive. The Directive puts in place strict measures to protect European companies against late payment in transactions with public authorities and other businesses. The report shows that, as a result of the Directive, the average payment period in business-to-business transactions in the EU has dropped by more than 10 days since 2013. National authorities have recognised the importance of combating late payment and, where necessary, have adopted additional measures to ensure compliance with the Directive. Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “We are monitoring the implementation of the Late Payment Directive closely and have noted a steady decrease in average payment periods within the EU. But late payment still hurts many companies, in particular SMEs, and ultimately the EU’s competitiveness. Paying within the legal time limit of 30 days is proving challenging for public authorities. There is still work to do before a consistent culture of prompt payment becomes a reality. We encourage all EU countries to strengthen their efforts in combating late payment.” The Report recommends further actions in particular closer and more consistent monitoring of the evolution of average payment periods based on a common methodology.