Every year, 1 million small businesses in the EU face problems with collecting cross-border debts, and as much as €600 million in cross-border claims are never satisfied.
Domestic orders for payment are an effective tool for debt collection in the Member States. Although they exist in many Member States, they differ to a great extent, and are often not practical for cross-border use.
In order to supplement the existing national order for payment measures, the EU legislature created a European Order for Payment (‘EOP’) procedure. The procedure is available for cross-border claims for money, mainly those arising from a contract. It is based on standard forms and the claimant does not need to prove the case before an order is issued. Once an EOP is served upon the defendant, they may oppose it. This then makes the EOP unenforceable and the case is moved onto standard civil proceedings.
Although the EOP procedure is an autonomous civil procedure in EU law, several aspects are regulated by national law. These include the designation of the competent authority or court, permissible languages, court fees and detailed rules on service.
The Commission is due to report on the practical application of the EOP procedure in December 2013.