The Commission accuses Greece of unfair payment practices of individuals

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Of Prokopi Hatzinikolaou

The Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Greece due to incorrect application of the rules set out in the Late Payments Directive (Directive 2011/7 / EU). As the text points out: “Delays in payments negatively affect companies, as they reduce their liquidity, hinder their growth and limit both their resilience, especially in the current economic context, and their ability to become greener and more digital.”

The Late Payments Directive obliges public authorities to pay their bills within 30 days (or 60 days in the case of public hospitals), setting a good example in combating the mentality of late payments in the business environment. Between 2010 and 2020, Greece introduced a rule that provides for the immediate payment of long-term debts of public hospitals to their private suppliers, provided that such suppliers waive their rights to interest, compensation and legal remedies.

According to the Commission, that regulation constitutes an infringement of the Union rules as interpreted by the Court of Justice, in particular in its judgment in Case C-555/14.

Greece now has two months to respond to the Commission’s arguments. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer that Member State to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

According to the data of the General Accounting Office of the State, the debts of the State to third parties and suppliers in the first quarter of the year remain at high levels. Specifically, they amount to 2.540 billion euros (together with the debts to the tax authorities). In particular, the debts of the State are as follows:

• € 58 million owed to ministries, up from € 39 million owed at the end of January

• 128 million euros are the debts of the Local Government from 153 million euros at the end of January.

• 473 million euros are owed by social security organizations, of which 205 million euros by EOPYY.

• 1.056 billion euros are the debts of the hospitals. It is noted that at the end of January the debts of the hospitals amounted to 739 million euros.

• 175 million are owed by various legal entities, from 153 million euros owed at the end of January.

• € 651 million are outstanding tax refunds, of which only € 40 million are over 90 days.

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Source: Capital

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