The European Commission’s DG Employment and Social Affairs has contracted CEPS, together with the Personal Finance Research Centre (University of Bristol) and the European Savings Institute for a large-scale research project which aims to lay the basis for the future common operational European definition of over-indebtedness. Although over-commitment of consumers and financial exclusion are growing problems in Europe, there exists no standard definition of over-indebtedness. Thus, it is currently not possible to collect comparable statistics for international comparisons across different Member States. This study aims to fill that gap, by proposing a common definition of over-indebtedness, which can be used to collect such statistics. The research will involve a survey of the existing definitions of over-indebtedness in Europe, as well as an overview of the political, administrative and legal approaches to over-indebtedness in 19 European countries. CEPS will work on this project together with a network of researchers from several countries including Italy, Finland, UK, Sweden and Poland.
Period: January 2007– January 2008