Tag Archives: Policies

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors' assets

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Even with a court judgment obtained, recovering cross-border debts may be difficult for creditors in practice if no information on the debtors’ assets or whereabouts is available. Because of this, the European Commission has adopted a Green Paper launching a public consultation on how to improve the recovery of debts through possible measures such as registers and debtor declarations.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 6 March 2008 on the effective enforcement of judgments in the European Union: the transparency of debtors’ assets [COM(2008) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The late and non-payment of debts is detrimental to business and customers alike, particularly when no information is available on the debtor’s assets or whereabouts. This is a particular cross-border issue in debt recovery and has the potential to affect the smooth running of the internal market. In launching a public consultation, the European Commission has outlined the problems of the current situation and possible solutions in this Green Paper. Interested parties can submit their comments by 30 September 2008.

State of play

The search for a debtor’s address and information on his financial situation is often the starting point for enforcement proceedings. At national level, most Member States mainly use two different systems for obtaining information, either:

  • systems of declaration of the debtor’s entire assets or at least a part of it to satisfy the claim;
  • search systems with specific information (registers).

In this Green Paper, the European Commission focuses more on a series of measures instead of one single European measure to allow the creditor to obtain reliable information on the debtor’s assets and whereabouts within a reasonable period of time. Possible measures include:

  • drawing up a manual of national enforcement laws and practices: at present, there is very little information on the different enforcement systems in the 27 European Union Member States. Such a manual could contain all sources of information on a person’s assets, which could be accessed in each country; contact addresses, costs, etc.
  • increasing the information available and improving access to registers: the main sources of information on the debtor are public registers, such as commercial or population registers. However, these vary from one Member State to the next. The Commission is asking whether to increase information available in and access to commercial registers and in what way access to existing population registers should be enhanced. Furthermore, access to social security and tax registers by enforcement authorities may be increased, while respecting rules of data protection and social and fiscal privacy.
  • exchange of information between enforcement authorities: currently, enforcement bodies are not able to directly access the (non-public) registers of other Member States which are open to national enforcement bodies. In addition, there are no international instruments dealing with the exchange of information between national enforcement bodies. In the absence of a Europe-wide register, enhancing cooperation between national enforcement authorities and direct exchange of information between them may a possible solution.
  • measures relating to the debtor’s declaration: enforcement bodies have in several Member States the option to question the debtor directly regarding his assets, whereas in some Member States the debtor’s declaration is made in the form of a testimony before the enforcement court. In some Member States, the debtor has to fill out mandatory forms, and in others a debtor’s declaration does not exist at all. The European Commission is considering introducing a European Assets declaration, obliging the debtors to disclose all assets in the European judicial area. In this way, the transparency of the debtor’s assets would not be limited by the territoriality of the enforcement proceedings.

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Research and innovation in support of the competitiveness of the European regions

Consistency in the use of the various sources of European funding is a key component of the support given by the European Union (EU) to the social and economic development of its Member States. In this Communication, the Commission formulates a number of guidelines for the national authorities and regions to enable them to combine the cohesion policy programmes more effectively with the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7th RTD Framework Programme) and the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation. Furthermore, more effective use of European funds by the Member States and the regions is also advocated.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 16 August 2007 entitled “Competitive European Regions through Research and Innovation – A contribution to more growth and more and better jobs” [COM(2007) 474 final – Not published in the Official Journal]


The development of a knowledge economy is one of the key challenges of the renewed Partnership for Growth and Jobs.

The European Union (EU) possesses three key support instruments to respond to this:

  • cohesion policy via the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund;
  • the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (7th RTD Framework Programme);
  • the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP).

The Commission aims through this Communication:

  • to bring out the synergies of design of the European funding instruments dedicated to research, innovation and cohesion;
  • to promote the translation of these synergies of design into synergies of action in relation to national and regional authorities and local actors;
  • to provide an overview of the use made of the research, innovation and cohesion policies and instruments by the Member States and the regions;
  • to open up pathways in order to optimise this use.

Respecting differences while achieving synergies

The European research, innovation and cohesion policies pursue a common goal: to combine growth with more and better jobs.

The means to achieve this are nevertheless different:

  • research policy is centred on promoting excellence internationally;
  • innovation policy promotes turning knowledge into business opportunities and new solutions for societal needs;
  • cohesion policy focuses on promoting regional excellence.

In so doing, the Commission guarantees that, beyond legal differences in approach (geographical scope or thematic scope) and methodological differences (funding through calls for tender or selection by open call for expression of interest, etc.), the various programmes can be used so as to converge towards this common objective.

The measures facilitating interaction between the programmes include harmonisation of the periods of cover (2007-2013).

Towards more synergies between research, innovation and cohesion policies

The Council of the EU (“Competitiveness” Council) and various advisory groups, such as CREST (Scientific and Technical Research Committee of the EU), EURAB (European Research Advisory Board), ESFRI (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures) and the ITRE committee of the European Parliament, have recently issued recommendations to strengthen the synergies between the research, innovation and cohesion policies:

  • it would be to the advantage of national and regional authorities to develop a specific strategy for coordinated use of the framework programmes and the cohesion policy programmes as part of their research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) strategy;
  • cohesion policy and the framework programmes offer opportunities to strengthen the governance of RTDI strategies through exchange and networking;
  • consideration should be given to effective synergies, including strengthening RTDI capacity, developing excellence, paying due attention to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), building cooperation at European and international level and strengthening the economic exploitation of R&D;
  • optimisation of communication and collaboration between the national and regional actors seems necessary;
  • the complementarity between the “Capacities” specific programme (7th RTD Framework Programme) and the cohesion policy programmes should be given greater prominence;
  • it seems obvious that there is a need for greater synergies between cohesion policy and the 7th RTD Framework Programme on research infrastructures and that it is important to involve the “newer” Member States in the implementation of the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures in a meaningful way.

Better use of European funding

Several measures are considered by the Commission to achieve better use of European funding by the various actors involved in research, innovation and cohesion:

  • a practical guide to facilitate access by research institutions or companies to EU funding sources;
  • introduction of mechanisms facilitating the sharing of ideas and the exchange of best practice, support and advice;
  • improvement of the exchange of information with national and regional authorities on the organisations which have benefited from grants under the 7th RTD Framework Programme or the CIP, in the event of complementary assistance from national, regional and European funds.

The Commission plans to take stock of the progress made at national and regional level in spring 2009.


Research and innovation offer possibilities both to respond to the many challenges currently facing the EU and to boost economic growth, social responsibility and sustainable development. These two fields are suffering from a shortage of human capital.

Research and innovation are also key instruments for the sustainable management of resources (energy, in particular), to address climate change, and to deal with demographic change. Under globalisation, competitiveness of businesses depends largely on the value added to their goods and services. With this in view, European innovation-based growth has become a top priority under the renewed Lisbon agenda.

Action in favour of innovation is more effective at regional level, as physical proximity fosters the partnerships between actors. The regional clusters play a key role in the promotion of research, technological development and innovation. Regional decision-makers and entrepreneurs are best able to turn knowledge, skills and competencies into sustainable competitive advantage. However, there are significant disparities in means and performance from one region to another. There is therefore a very real risk of a divide.

The common or complementary priorities of the research, innovation and cohesion policies in the context of the Lisbon strategy are:

  • to build a European Research Area (ERA);
  • to improve results in R&D and innovation;
  • to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and regions;
  • to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of the enlarged EU;
  • to promote national, regional and interregional innovation strategies;
  • to encourage innovation and innovative clusters.