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Commission Decision of 31 October 2007 setting up an Expert Group on electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing) (2007/717/EC)

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Commission Decision

of 31 October 2007

setting up an Expert Group on electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing)

(2007/717/EC)

THE COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community,

Whereas:

(1) Article 3 of the Treaty assigned the Community the task of ensuring the creation of an internal market characterised by the abolition, between Member States, of obstacles to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital.

(2) Article 232 of Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax(1) allows the issue of electronic invoices instead of paper invoices.

(3) The revised Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs(2) provides an all encompassing economic reform agenda. Its micro economic pillar focuses on creating a business-friendly environment. Within this target, the development of interoperable electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing) solutions is a vital component.

(4) In its communication to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions ‘i2010 — A European Information Society for growth and employment’(3) of 1 June 2005, the Commission launched the i2010 initiative as a framework for addressing the main challenges and developments in the information society and media sector up to 2010. It promotes an open and competitive digital economy and emphasises information and communication technologies (ICT as a driver of inclusion and quality of life).

(5) The European Payments Council (EPC), the decision making and coordination body of the European banking industry in relation to payments, has committed itself to establishing by 2010 a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) with integrated payment infrastructures and payment products.

(6) e-Invoicing links the internal processes of enterprises to the payment systems. Therefore, SEPA and a successful European e-Invoicing initiative would complement each other. These two initiatives together are expected to deliver huge benefits to enterprises and financial service providers through improved efficiency and automation of supply chains.

(7) In order to enhance the use of the digital environment and to reap the full benefits of e-Invoicing in the Community, the current practices should be simplified and the transition to new business models facilitated by a more integrated and uniform framework. This would specially serve the interests of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

(8) In December 2006, a group of stakeholders formed an industry Task Force on e-Invoicing, which was chaired by the services of the Commission, and included enterprises, representatives of banks and other service providers, as well as standardisation organisations. The aim of the Task Force was to pave the way for future work on a European e-Invoicing Framework. The Task Force formulated proposals for a potential governance structure and designed a roadmap for an e-Invoicing programme. The Task Force delivered its final report in June 2007.

(9) Given the positive experience with the Task Force, and in order to address longer-term issues, an Expert Group on e-Invoicing should be established.

(10) Its tasks should be to identify business requirements(4) and responsibilities for the execution of specific work, as well as to steer the creation — by the end of 2009 — of a European e-Invoicing Framework to establish a common conceptual structure to support the provision of e-Invoicing services in an open and interoperable manner across Europe.

(11) The Expert Group should be composed of persons having direct and relevant expertise in respect of activities relating to e-Invoicing, including key stakeholders from the public sector, big and small enterprises as well as services providers, standardisation organisations and consumers representatives. In addition, provision should be made for the participation of observers. Any report or outcome of the Expert Group should be the work of the Group's members and should not be understood as reflecting the views of the Commission.

(12) Rules on disclosure of information by members of the Expert Group should be provided for, without prejudice to the rules on security annexed to the Commission's rules of procedure by Decision 2001/844/EC, ECSC, Euratom(5).

(13) Personal data relating to members of the Expert Group should be processed in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies on the free movement of such data(6).

(14) It is appropriate to fix a period for the application of this Decision. The Commission will in due time consider the advisability of an extension,

HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

(1)

OJ L 347, 11.12.2006, p. 1. Directive as amended by Directive 2006/138/EC (OJ L 384, 29.12.2006, p. 92).

(2)

COM(2005) 24.

(3)

COM(2005) 229 final.

(4)

e-Invoicing business requirements represent the characteristics that e-Invoice services should match in order to satisfy the stakeholders' business needs and goals, enabling the processes of the entire financial and supply chains. They are expressed in terms of high level process flows, e-invoice information and standard message structure.

(5)

OJ L 317, 3.12.2001, p. 1. Decision as amended by Decision 2006/548/EC, Euratom (OJ L 215, 5.8.2006, p. 38).

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