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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

EU Payment Observatory Analysis

General publications10 July 2024
How electronic invoicing helps reduce late payments in commercial transactions

Paper-based invoices are losing ground to electronic invoices. The switch to eInvoices (i.e. statements issued, sent and received in a digital format that allows for automatic and electronic processing) is bringing about significant changes for the seller and buyer alike.

While the changes in how invoices are issued, transmitted and received as a result of the shift from paper to digital have been well studied, less attention has been paid to the effect on when a seller gets paid. This report is specifically concerned with that effect. Put simply, it aims to answer the question of whether the adoption of eInvoicing reduces late payments.

General publications27 March 2024
Enforcement measures combating late payments in commercial transactions

Most efforts to combat late payments in commercial transactions are focused on prevention. Nonetheless, enforcement measures are an important tool to combat late payments. By imposing financial or reputational penalties for non-compliance with agreed-upon payment terms, they help deter bad payment behaviour and promote a culture of financial responsibility and fairness. Additionally, they serve to compensate creditors for the damage caused by the late payment.

This thematic report compares the ways in which Member States have implemented and enforced the Late Payment Directive. In addition, it showcases enforcement regimes in Member States that go beyond what is prescribed in the Late Payment Directive and can potentially serve as best practices.


General publications27 February 2024
Annual report 2023

This annual report stands as the foremost analytical output of the Observatory. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the trends in payment behaviour in commercial transactions in the EU, an analysis of the collected data and an assessment of the various initiatives and documents put forward across the EU to combat late payments.

This report is divided into two main parts. The first one analyses the data collected on payment performance across the EU and is divided into three sections: A methodological note, a European-level analysis and a country-level analysis. The second part provides an assessment of the initiatives and policy measures existing in the EU and UK to combat late payments. Finally, there is a section providing the conclusions of the entire report.



General publications9 November 2023
Thematic report on preventive measures

This report covers preventive measures for late payments implemented in EU/EEA countries, as well as the UK showing a mix of preventive measures implemented by the selected countries. Countries such as France, Italy or Spain have launched several significant initiatives addressing the issue, but there are also countries where only a limited number of initiatives have been identified. Most of the initiatives taken at the country level focus on ensuring transparency. Other types of measures, such as financial mechanisms (incentives), the restriction of access to public funding or invoice management are rarer. This suggests that there is scope for sharing best practices and mutual learning. Moreover, it would be challenging to attribute a change in payment behaviour to only one type of measure. Rather, a combination of various measures is likely to be most effective in improving payment practices, encouraging prompt payment practices and reducing late payments in the longer term.