On 18 January 2017, EC Regulation No.655/2014 establishing the ‘European Account Preservation Order’ (“EAPO”) came into force. The Regulation introduced a new procedure to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters by providing common rules in all European Union Member States relating to jurisdiction, issuance and enforcement of EAPO by national courts and authorities, as well as the measures available to debtors following the issuance of such an order.
The EAPO procedure allows for a single order to be made in the courts of one Member State which would be capable of ‘freezing’ any bank account of a debtor in any other Member State. It thus makes it less cumbersome, lengthy and costly for a creditor to obtain provisional measures to preserve assets in bank accounts of a debtor located in another Member State.
An important element of the Regulation which will make it easier for creditors to recover their claims is the access to information concerning a debtor’s bank accounts. If the creditor does not know with which bank the debtor holds an account in a certain Member State, then the creditor may use under certain conditions a special procedure for obtaining such information.
The EAPO is available to creditors in cross-border cases, as an alternative to remedies existing under national law.