Feeds

Ombudsman probes European Commission over late payments

EC does all it can to support SMEs - except pay them

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The European Ombudsman has kicked off an investigation into the European Commission's habit of not paying its suppliers in a timely manner.

P Nikiforos Diamandouros's investigation into the Commission's tendency to bend the cash/time continuum comes as the Commission continues its own efforts to support European firms through the financial crisis, mainly by talking its way through the downturn.

Diamandouros said his probe follows complaints from “companies, associations, NGOs, universities and other organisations involved in EU-funded projects and contracts”. Apparently he has investigated 30 late payment complaints over the last seven years. He kicked off an investigation in December 2007, which closed in July 2008, and found that “more than 22 per cent of all payments made by the Commission involved delays”.

Presumably suppliers aren't finding much improvement since then, hence the new investigation.

In his letter opening the probe, he says, “I would very much appreciate it if the Commission could inform me of the results of the steps it has taken to identify and deal with the causes of delays in making payments to contractors and to beneficiaries of grants and subsidies.

"I would of course also be interested in obtaining information on any further steps the Commission may have taken in this field.”

Late payment is one of the big bugbears of SMEs. As larger entities hoard their own cash, smaller firms see their cashflow reduced to a trickle, quickly sending those smaller suppliers to the wall. Strangely, larger organisations rarely allow smaller organisations the same payment terms they claim for themselves.

The Commission knows all this of course. As far back as 2000 the Council of Industry Ministers approved a directive on late payments. Last year the Commission approved an SME Act to help small businesses. But the act was criticised for not providing a mechanism for overhauling the culture of late payment in Europe. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.