Feeds

Ombudsman probes European Commission over late payments

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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?