The true nature of the European Enforcement Order (EEO)
How can a debt be recovered in the event that the debtor comes from another country?
Bypassing the possibility of conducting standard judicial proceedings directly in the country of the debtor seat, the introduction in 2006 of the institution that is the European Enforcement Order (regulated in (EC) No 805/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004) provides the opportunity for assertion of an amount due on the basis of the EEO in all EU countries, with the exception of Denmark.
This means that in a case in which proceedings against a foreign debtor have been conducted before a Polish court, following the acquisition of a court ruling (warrant / verdict) or judicial settlement, the creditor may request the issue of an EEO certificate.
The European Enforcement Order has an application in uncontested claims. The order is applied in civil and commercial cases, regardless of the nature of the court or tribunal.
The basic conditions necessary for acquisition of the EEO are:
- the uncontested nature of the claim, that is, there being no charges submitted, objection or appeal;
- the exactable nature of the claim;
- the proper delivery of all documents to the debtor.
In general the EEO was introduced with the aim of limiting the formalities and time necessary for the undertaking of debt collection in the country of the debtor seat – in a European Union member state.
However, this is not always possible, e.g. when articles on the European executory order may not be applied, and necessary too is the submission of an application for a statement on the enforcement of the ruling issued by the Polish court in a foreign court – and this usually involves additional charges, e.g. court charges. Then it is possible to undertake the debt collection only following the acquisition of an ‘approval’ by the foreign court.
The EEO certificate covers not only the amount of the main claim, but also an adjudged amount for return of the costs of the process and interest.
In order to undertake enforcement on the basis of the EEO original copies of the court ruling and EEO certificate should be presented, together with an official translation of the documents.
IMPORTANT: On the basis of almost 10 years of experience in legal activity on foreign markets we must emphasise that despite the unification of articles, the EEO is respected differently in individual EU countries.
Taking into consideration the fact that in some cases, despite the acquisition of the EEO, it is anyway necessary to undertake authentication proceedings in a foreign court, it may transpire that a more favourable option in respect of time and cost is the immediate conduct of legal activity directly in the country of the debtor seat.