Members' Research Service By / December 22, 2018

Cross-border creditors [What Europe does for you]

Around 50 % of all consumers shop online, and the number of cross-border transactions in the internal market is growing steadily.

© leszekglasner / Fotolia

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for cross-border creditors.


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Around 50 % of all consumers shop online, and the number of cross-border transactions in the internal market is growing steadily. However, the individual value of such transactions remains relatively small, with almost half coming under €100. Because the amounts involved are small, not all contracts are properly performed, which sometimes leads to cross-border disputes, most of which do not end up in court. According to estimates, there could be as many as 0.5 million cross-border consumer cases of a value below €2 000 and some 130 000 such cases between businesses per year in the EU. The annual number of consumer claims for amounts between €2 000 and €10 000 is estimated at 84 000, and claims between businesses at 208 700.

Young woman calculating and paying bills in home office
© leszekglasner / Fotolia

To assist cross-border creditors who need to take a debtor in a different country to court over a small sum of money, the EU created the European small claims procedure in 2008. This simple, fast procedure is available only for small monetary claims in cross-border cases. Using ready-available standard forms, in all EU languages, its basic elements are identical throughout the EU.

Reform of the procedure in 2015 means creditors can now make cross-border claims up to €5 000. Court fees were reduced, and digital technology is increasingly used to take evidence, further reducing costs and making the proceeding easier.

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