Consumers still shoulder the burden of debt to fuel economic growth without proper debtor protection

Brussels, 23 January 2020 – Finance Watch released today a report on debtor dignity that sheds light on the need for common EU rules to ensure that borrowers are properly protected. Its findings show that many European citizens are at risk of being driven into poverty by debt collection and face a serious and widespread problem of debt collector malpractice.

significant survey was undertaken as part of the report, which gathered information on debt collection practices and protection of minimum income with experts, practitioners and national authorities across 23 countries in Europe.

The report provides timely evidence to the ECON Committee of the European Parliament who will discuss on 27 January 2020 amendments to the draft directive on credit servicers, credit purchasers and the recovery of collateral. Committee Members will have the opportunity to address the problem of debt collection malpractice by agreeing on the following key amendments:

  • A minimum level of common EU standards for debt collection when dealing with consumers and a common EU list of prohibited activities;
  • An obligation to provide a standardised debt notification document to ensure borrowers are properly informed, before any debt collection can officially take place.

Olivier Jérusalmy, Senior Research & Advocacy Officer at Finance Watch and author of the report, said:

“Our report shows that the basic right to a life worthy of human dignity is being put at risk for over-indebted people in Europe today. There simply is no ethical nor economic justification for forcing debtors to live in poverty, or for threatening them verbally and physically.

Widespread malpractice often constituting harassment is currently prevalent in the debt collection industry and must be addressed in the proposed credit servicers directive.”



For further information or interview requests, please contact:

Charlotte Geiger, Head of Communications and Networks, at, +32 / 2 880 0441 or +32 (0)474331031.


On 1 April 2019, the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee of the European Parliament was originally set to approve its initial report proposing amendments to the proposed Directive on credit servicers, credit purchasers and the recovery of collateral (2018/0063 COD). The vote did not go through so the text was submitted a second time after the EU elections and the process has restarted.

The ECON Committee draft report by the two rapporteurs Esther de Lange and Irene Tinagli was published on 29 November 2019. The amendments tabled by ECON members will be discussed on 27 January 2020. A vote on the final ECON report is scheduled for 17 February 2020.

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