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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.

The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The decision-making process and the work of the institutions


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

Institutional affairs > The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

The decision-making process and the work of the institutions

In order to implement EU policies, the European institutions adopt legal acts in accordance with the rules and procedures set out in the Treaties. In general, the European Commission proposes the legal acts, which are then adopted by the Council and the European Parliament. The three main procedures are consultation, assent and codecision.
Citizens also have a say in the development of Community policies. In the early 2000s, the Commission launched a major initiative to make the decision-making process more transparent, more efficient and more democratic. The aim of this initiative is to bring the European institutions closer to the citizen.


  • Legislative procedures
  • The citizen’s initiative
  • Financial Regulation
  • A budget for Europe (2014-2020)
  • Towards a new financial framework 2007-2013
  • Interinstitutional Agreement on cooperation in budgetary matters
  • Procedure for the adoption of international agreements
  • The principle of cooperation between the institutions
  • Cooperation between the European Parliament and the European Commission
  • The accession process for a new Member State


  • Sources of European Union law
  • Primary law
  • International agreements
  • The non-written sources of European law: supplementary law
  • Unilateral acts
  • Conventions and agreements
  • Regulations
  • The European decision
  • Directive
  • Atypical acts


Governance and Community legislation

  • White Paper on governance
  • Action Plan for Better Regulation
  • Strategic review of the “Better Regulation” programme
  • Interinstitutional Agreement on better law-making
  • Simplifying the regulatory environment
  • Reducing administrative costs
  • Fewer administrative formalities for more growth

Communication and debate on the activities of the European Union

  • Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate
  • Better informed about Europe
  • White Paper on Communication
  • Communicating Europe in partnership

Publication, transparency and access to documents

  • Transparency register
  • Access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents
  • Public access to documents held by the Institutions
  • European Transparency Initiative (ETI)
  • Green Paper on the European Transparency Initiative


Transposition, implementation and enforcement

  • The direct effect of European law
  • Precedence of European law
  • The action for annulment
  • Proceedings for failure to fulfil an obligation
  • Proceedings for failure to act
  • The reference for a preliminary ruling
  • The action for damages

Implementing Community instruments

  • The Commission’s implementing powers