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Transcript of EURO-info : 62/93 September 1993 - COnnecting REpositories EURO-info ¿?, ¿? ^...

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    62/93/EN September 1993$

    Overdue payments: companies in favour of Community initiatives

    A public hearing on overdue payments in business transactions was held in Brussels on 7 and 8 July, on the joint initiative of the Commission and the European Parlia­ ment. ι The hearing referred to a consultative document distributed by the Commission serv­ ices at the beginning of the year2. This raised the question of the appropriateness of Community initiatives to redress the current deterioration in time taken by firms to pay bills in the majority of Member States. Opening the meeting, M. von Moltke, Director General responsible for Enterprise Policy (DG XIII) cited several recent surveys which concurred to confirm a deteriora­ tion in payment behaviour in 1992. While many look to SMEs to lead the recovery in growth and employment in the Community, this seems difficult to imagine without a considerable improvement in the payment situation which they are facing. With the intensification of trade and competition in the internal market, there is a risk that companies may try to outdo each other by delaying payments, leading to a general deterioration in the Community. The hearing enabled the viewpoint of over 30 large federations representing com­ panies in the Community as well as the professions involved in debt collection. This revealed their deep concern about the lengthening in contractually­agreed payment deadlines, and even more with regard to the widespread and increasingly serious problem of overdue payments. It was agreed almost unanimously that these practices are having a negative impact on the operation of the internal market. In addition, several studies have shown a negative correlation between the length of contractual payment deadlines and overdue payments and the size of the creditor company. While the general economic situation could be blamed, many participants considered that the inequitable power relationships between business partners were also a fundamental reason for this phenomenon. The vast majority of the organisations confirmed their support for freedom of con­ tract, which enables business partners to fix the payment deadlines applicable to their transactions. However, many of them requested that certain principles be established at Community level to impose a framework on this freedom, in order to combat and sanction abusive practices and late payment. There was very high demand for setting up simple legal procedures in all Member States, which would act quickly and effectively to settle disputes about payments. In fact, it seems that a link can be established between the speed of payments in certain countries and the effectiveness of the legal procedures for recovery.

    (continued on page 2)

    1 Report dated 31 March 1993, EP 203.858 2 Working document of the services of the Commission on payment periods in commercial trans­

    actions SEC(92)2214 of 18.11.1992 ­ see Euro­Info 56/93




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    EURO­INFO is a newsletter for small businesses and craft trades. It is distributed free of charge to business organisations, associations and groups and to correspondents of the Business Coopera­ tion Centre (BRE) to members of the BC­NET (Business Cooperation Network) and to EURO­ INFO CENTRES. EURO­Info appears 10 times per year. The information contained in this issue may be reproduced. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Commission of the European Communities. The facts contained in this newsletter are given for information purposes only and do not legally bind the Commission. EURO­Info is at your service. Tell us about yourselves. For further information or suggestions, contact: Directorate General XXIII Enterprise Policy, Trade, Tourism and Cooperatives Joachim ROTH, Euro­Info Rue de la Loi 200 (ARLN), Β ­ 1049 BRUSSELS Tel. 295.63.22 — Fax: 295.21.54

    IN THIS ISSUE Page • OVERDUE PAYMENTS: firms want Community initiatives 1 • EUROPARTENARIAT SCOTLAND 1993: the catalogue is available 2 • CRAFT TRADES: colloquia and a European conference 4 • SUBCONTRACTING: pilot programme in the field of consumer electronics 5 • SMALL BUSINESS AND COMPETITION: a practical guide 6 • INTERPRISE: to encourage partnerships in Europe 6

    (continued from page 1)

    In addition to the speeches made during the hearing, the Commission received around one hundred position papers following the publication of the working document.

    Referring to a Resolution adopted by the European Parliament in April 1992 3, Messrs. Beumer and Speciale, Members of the European Parliament, emphasised the urgency of a Commission initiative on the subject dur­ ing the hearing, if Small and Medium­sized Enterprises are to be in a position to take part in growth and take advantage of the internal market.

    The Economic and Social Committee also suggested Community measures in its initiative opinion dated 30 June, including actions with regard to information and training in companies, and a recommendation from the Commission concerning transactions between private firms and a directive for public procurement.

    The Commission will shortly be drawing the conclusions from this consultation exercise, as to possible initiatives to be proposed at Community level. For further information: Commission of the European Communities

    DG XXIII — Enterprise Policy Hélène CLARK ­ Rue de la Loi, 200 (ARLN) ­ B­1049 BRUSSELS Fax: 295 9784

    EUROPARTENARIAT SCOTLAND 1993: the catalogue is available

    Since 1988, EUROPARTENARIAT has been stimulating the development of the least­favoured regions, by organising meetings between Small and Medium­sized Enterprises in these regions and potential partners from all over Europe, as well as encouraging cooperation agreements in the commercial, financial or technological fields. The programme invites SMEs from all over Europe and third countries to meet those from a selected less­favoured region. EUROPARTENARIAT works: selection of SMEs in the chosen region, publication of a catalogue, organisation of business contacts (appointments arranged in advance, presence of

    3 Resolution A3­0123/93 dated 21.4.93 on subcontracting and participation of SMEs in public procurement in the Com­ munity

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    interpreters), which are arousing a great deal of interest. In Lille, on 17 and 18 June 1993, EUROPAR­ TENARIAT FRANCE NORD­EST enabled more than 11 000 individual meetings between representatives of participating SMEs to be set up to benefit French SMEs. Nearly 50% of the visiting firms were from coun­ tries outside the Community. The next EUROPARTENARIAT will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, on 13 and 14 December 1993. In the context of EUROPARTENARIAT SCOTLAND, 335 Small and Medium­Sized Enterprises have been selected. An information sheet about each one, and their proposals for cooperation in the business, technical or financial field, have been published in a catalogue, available now in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. This catalogue, which has been widely distributed, to the EURO INFO CENTRES, BC­NET advisers, contacts of the Business Cooperation Centre (BCC), Enterprise and Innova­ tion Centres, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, professional organisations, is distributed by a network of specialised advisers. They are responsible, in particular, for seeking suitable partners and coordinating their participation in EUROPARTENARIAT SCOTLAND. To obtain the catalogue or information, please contact one of the EUROPARTENARIAT advisers on the list:

    IN THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY Belgium ­ Mrs. Corinne DE RYCKER — SOCRAN — Parc Scientifique du Sart­Tilman — Avenue Pré­Aily — B­

    4031 ANGLEUR (Liège) — Tel.: 32/41/67 83 33 ­ Fax: 32/41/67 83 00 ­ Mr. Jos HELSEN / Mr. Ivo PEETERS — GOM Vlaams­Brabant Toekomststraat 36­83 — B­1800

    VILVOORDE ­ Tel.: 32/2/251 5171 ­ Fax: 32/2/252/4594 Denmark ­ Mr. Per SONDERGAARD ­ Danish Chamber of Commerce — Borsen ­ DK­1217 COPENHAGEN —

    Tel.: 45/33/95 05 00 ­ Fax: 45/33/32 52 16 ­ Telex: 19520 chamco dk France ­ Mrs. Anne SIBILLE — ACFCI — Assemblée des Chambres Françaises de Commerce et d'Industrie —

    45, avenue d'Ièna ­ BP 448 16 ­ F­75769 PARIS CEDEX 16 ­ Tel.: 33/1/4069 3796 ­ Fax: 33/1/4069 3808 ­ Telex: ACFCI 645 396 F

    Germany ­ Mr. Yiannis NEOPHYTOU — IHK — Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Aussenwirtschaft und der Unter­

    nehmensführung mbH ­ Adenauerallee 148 ­ 53113 BONN ­ Tel.: 49/2/28/104 165 6 Fax: 49/2/28/104 238 — Telex:885509 auwig d

    ­ Mrs. Katrin Ruh — IHK — Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Aussenwirtschaft und der Unter­ nehmensführung mbH — Schönholzer Strasse 10/11 — 13187 BERLIN — Tel.: 49/30/488 06 130 — Fax: 49/30/488 06 333

    Greece ­ Mr. Babis FILADARLIS — Exporters Association of Northern Greece — 1, Morihovou Square GR­54625

    THESSALONIKI ­ Tel.: 30/31/545 196, 546 103, 547 312 ­ Fax: 30/31/546 102 ­ 543 232 ­ Telex: 418 193 SEVE GR

    Ireland ­ Mr. Charlie KELLY — An Bord Trachtala / The Irish Trade Board —