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Parliamentary questions
21 September 2011
Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

Different systems and laws are currently in force throughout the Union regarding debt settlement procedures. These procedures are dealt with at national level and remain within the jurisdiction of the national authorities concerned.

The Commission cannot at present give an overview of which Member States allow dation in payment. However, the Financial Services User Group, which was recently set up and which advises the Commission in the preparation of legislation and policy initiatives affecting users of financial services, is planning to undertake research touching upon this issue. One of the objectives of the research project will be to identify and map the main features of the different legal frameworks in a representative number of EU Member States regarding the use of the legal instrument ‘dation in payment’.

The Commission believes it essential that Member States continue to monitor the economic situation closely and consider, if appropriate, introducing rules aimed either at preventing foreclosures or, where such procedures are launched, at limiting their social and economic impact.

The proposal for a directive on credit agreement relating to residential property(1) was accompanied by a Staff Working Paper(2) on pre-foreclosures the purpose of which was to give a picture of the existing national measures that can be undertaken before lenders need to resort to foreclosure. It has provided illustrations of practices, ranging from reconciliation procedures, mediation, modification of loan terms, to minimum length of time before starting foreclosure procedures, public rescue schemes and provision of independent debt and legal advice, as well as the collection of data and internal reporting. The purpose of this Staff Working Paper is not to draw up a ‘league table’ of the best national practices; such practices should be considered within their respective national contexts and in many cases, it is still too early to measure to what extent they have been adequately flexible and responsive to the recent economic crisis as well as to assess their effectiveness.

(1)Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on credit agreements relating to residential property (COM(2011)142 of 31 March 2011); available at:
(2)The Commission Staff Working Paper on National Measures and Practices to Avoid Foreclosure Procedures for Residential Mortgage Loans [SEC(2011)357final] is available at:

OJ C 128 E, 03/05/2012
Dernière mise à jour: 3 octobre 2011Avis juridique