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EU Parliament Committee does not challenge European Commission’s proposal on SEPA migration Regulation


14 Jul 2011


Global Europe

On 11 July the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee did not challenge the European Commission’s December 2010 proposal for a SEPA migration Regulation. The Committee rejected most of the many amendments submitted by Members of the European Parliament. These amendments were aimed at enhancing a proposal which combines the necessary setting of end dates for existing national credit transfer and direct debit schemes with minute technical arrangements and far-reaching policy orientations. This intended Commission Regulation should lead to EU-wide adoption of single credit transfer and direct debit schemes.

Although the text adopted yesterday (still to be submitted to the vote of the European Parliament Plenary) sets dates for the discontinuation of existing national payment systems (setting such dates by legislation had actually been requested by the European banking payment industry), the same text also sets technical requirements for the pan-European credit transfer and direct debit schemes, which may not be welcomed by European consumers. Furthermore, the text bans interchange for direct debits, negating that the successful existing direct debit models in the eurozone are based on interchange and that the latter protects consumers from paying for benefits retained by creditors. Creditors (typically large companies, e.g. utility providers) had already announced that they will not pass along any savings to consumers. Banning interchange for direct debits sets a precedent which will negatively affect the emergence of interoperable, innovative solutions.   

This is not a helpful development”, said ESBG Managing Director Chris De Noose. “This text was the opportunity to show consumers that pan-European initiatives can combine convenience for them and the policy internal market objective. This text could also have motivated payment service providers to continue and innovate. It is a pity that the European Commission proposal was not challenged much at Parliament Committee level. Both European users and providers of payment services now have to hope that the European Parliament Plenary takes a broader approach in order to keep alive the potential for both a consumer-convenient and innovative single market for payments”.    

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Notes to Editors:

Press Contacts:

Dirk Smet, Tel: +32 2 211 11 90

Sara Tironi, Tel: +32 22 11 11 91 

About ESBG: 

The European Savings Banks Group (ESBG) is an international banking association which represents one of the largest European retail banking networks, comprising about one third of the retail banking market in Europe, with total assets of almost €6,000 billion (January 2009). It represents the interests of its members vis-à-vis the EU Institutions and generates, facilitates and manages high quality cross-border banking projects. 

ESBG members are typically savings and retail banks or associations thereof. They are often organised in decentralised networks and offer their services throughout their region. ESBG member banks have been reinvesting responsibly in their region for many decades and they are a distinct benchmark for corporate social responsibility activities throughout Europe and the world.

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