Late Payment Directive 2011/07
The Late Payment Directive covers all debts incurred in commercial transactions, it aims at combatting late payment for goods or services within the European Union. IT lays down common minimum requirements consistent with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
Late payments are one of the main obstacles to free movement of goods and services. It constitutes problem mainly for small businesses, which are financially vulnerable. That is why the Small Business Act lists the reduction in the number of late payments in commercial transactions as one of its ten principles.
Payment terms: under the new rules, the creditor is entitled to interest for late payment without the necessity of a reminder. Where the date or period for payment is not fixed in the contract, the creditor is entitled to interest for late payment upon the expiry of the period of 30 calendar days following the date of receipt by the debtor of the invoice or an equivalent request for payment or, where the date of the receipt of the invoice or the equivalent request for payment is uncertain, 30 calendar days after the date of receipt of the goods or services.
As a general rule, the period for payment fixed in the contract does not exceed 60 calendar days, unless otherwise expressly agreed in the contract and provided it is not grossly unfair to the creditor.
In transactions between undertakings and public authorities, a derogation in the Directive allows certain public undertakings, as well as enterprises providing healthcare, to extend the statutory payment period up to a maximum of 60 calendar days. If a Member State decides to extend the time limits in accordance with the Directive, it shall send a report on such extension to the Commission by 16 March 2018.
Unfair contractual terms and practices:any contractual term or a practice relating to the date or period for payment, the rate of interest for late payment or the compensation for recovery costs is either unenforceable or gives rise to a claim for damages if it is grossly unfair to the creditor.
Transparency and awareness raising: Member States shall ensure transparency regarding the rights and obligations stemming from this Directive, including by making publicly available the applicable rate of statutory interest for late payment. The Commission shall make publicly available on the Internet details of the current statutory rates of interest which apply in all the Member States in the event of late payment in commercial transactions.
Please follow this link to read the Late Payment Directive.
Previously the rules on late payments were under Directive 2000/35 and this new legislation repeals and modernises these old rules.
Modernisation of EU Public Procurement policy
Green Paper on the modernisation of EU public procurement policy Towards a more efficient European Procurement Market (published in January 2011) argues that public procurement is facing new challenges such as: high public deficits and the resulting need for the most efficient use of public money, but also the growing demand that procurement contributes to the achievement of overall societal goals.
Public consultation held in the first half of 2011 has launched a public debate on how legislation could be updated to help public procurers cope with these challenges.
The European Parliament adopted an own initiative report on the Modernisation of the public procurement. The Parliament called public bodies to consider the "social and environmental" benefits of tenders and called the Commission to revise the law to include "clear, simple and flexible rules, reducing the level of detail". Furthermore, the process should be more accessible for small and medium sized businesses, which currently only win 31%-38% of public procurement contracts by value.
On 20 December 2011, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a Directive on public procurement.
On 15 January 2014, the European Parliament adopted the Public Procurement Directive. The adopted text ensures better quality and value for money thanks to new award criteria which will put more emphasis on quality, environmental (green) considerations, social aspects and innovation. Public authorities will be able to launch a call for tender and leave room to the tenderer to come up with innovative solutions together with the authority.
You can find here the Public PRocurement Directive.
Communication on pilot phase of the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative
Please find here the full text of the Communication.
New policy for Corporate Social Responsibility
The communication presents the concerns of CSR, an evaluation of the impact of European policy on CSR, a modern understanding of CSR – including an updated definition- and a new agenda for action 2011-2014.
In the time of the economic crisis, the commission believes that Europe needs to create conditions favourable to sustainable growth, responsible business behaviour and durable employment generation in the medium and long term.
On 16 April 2013, the European Commission proposed an amendment to existing accounting legislation in order to improve the transparency of certain large companies on social and environmental matters. The move follows publication in October 2011 of the Commission’s 2011-14 Strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Under the proposal, large companies with more than 500 employees would be required to disclose relevant and material environmental and social information in their annual reports.
The proposal aims at generating higher levels of trust in business on the part of citizens. Indeed, currently there are discussions on mandatory vs. voluntary issue. There is a fear that mandatory reporting would cause additional cost for small and medium businesses. If this is so, a voluntary based, business driven approach might be favourable.
It’s believed that sustainability reporting will help markets function more efficiently and drive European organisations towards government-agreed sustainable development goals. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are currently popular methods, with companies also exploring the use of apps and games to inform investors and customers of their sustainability values and achievements.
In the meantime, the European Parliament took steps to implement the already mentioned Strategy published in October 2011. Own initiative reports have been adopted by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, and the Committee on Legal Affairs.
European Commision – Press Release (16/04/2013)
CSR Handbook for SMEs- File
Directive on award of public supply, service and work contracts 2004/18
Please find here the full text of the Directive.
Directive on entities in water, energy and transport sectors 2004/17
Please follow this link to consult the full text of the Directive.