A common operational European definition of over-indebtedness

Key contributors (PFRC): Professor Elaine Kempson, Andrea Finney, Adele Atkinson
Funded by: European Commission via Observatoire de l'Epargne Européen
Published by: European Commission
Publication date: May 2008

With the expansion of access to credit and the provision of new products in financial services, consumer over-indebtedness is increasingly moving into the focus of the European public. Yet, so far there has not been a standard definition of over-indebtedness which is accepted throughout the Union. This is one of the reasons why there are no comparable statistics about the current state, extent and past development of over-indebtedness within individual Member States. Such a lack hampers the evaluation of policy measures and undermines any well-founded discussion about the effectiveness of prevention measures.

Against this background, the European Commission commissioned a study with the following objectives:

Led by the European Savings Institute (Observatoire de l'Epargne Européen), the research team included PFRC, the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and the European Credit Research Institute (ECRI).

A common operational European definition of over-indebtedness [ Full report (PDF, 991kB) | Summary (PDF, 145kB) ]

Further information

In December 2007 the European Commission held a conference in Brussels to disseminate and discuss the findings of the study, including presentations from Professor Elaine Kempson, Andrea Finney and Adele Atkinson.

Nature and causes of over-indebtedness (presentation) (PDF, 97kB)
Policies to tackle over-indebtedness (presentation) (PDF, 93kB)

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