ITALY could face the prospect of EU fines for failing to settle public service invoices on time, after the bloc’s top court ruled against Rome on Tuesday in a long-running dispute.
The case dates back to 2014, when the European Commission warned Italy about complaints it had received from private contractors who were not being paid on time by public authorities.
The average length of time for invoices to be settled was 170 days for services or goods provided, and 210 days for public works, the commission said at the time compared to an EU mandated deadline of 30 or 60 days.
Italy has since made progress on the issue but is still not fully compliant with EU rules.
Following several years of back and forth with Rome, the commission escalated the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in 2018.
Among other things, Italy argued that it was only bound by an EU obligation to pay late payment interest and compensation for recovery costs, an argument the court rejected, pointing towards increased obligations in relation to private companies, according to a statement.
Italy had, therefore, failed to comply with the European Union’s payment periods, laid down in a 2011 law, the Luxembourg-based judges concluded.
Rome must immediately comply with the ruling, or else the commission could bring a separate case calling on the ECJ to impose potentially hefty fines. (dpa/NAN)
– Jan. 28, 2020 @ 13:45 GMT |