EP agrees with Commission on euro cross border payments

The Parliament voted that charges for transactions in euros within the EU should be the same across borders as within a single Member State. The Commission agrees with the Parliament’s three amendments.

The Parliament adopted the Commission draft Regulation in its first reading with three main changes:

  • It called for a short delay in the application of the regulation (from 1 January to 1 March 2002), in order to allow banks to concentrate on the introduction of the euro coins and notes;
  • It excluded cheques from the equal charges principle of the regulation; cheques will still be subject to the information requirements of the regulation;
  • Financial institutions only have to inform their customers of their International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identification Code (BIC) “if required” as some payment systems are not bank systems and therefore have no IBAN or BIC.

 

European Consumers' Organisation BEUCwelcomed the vote as "a single currency that will not facilitate cross-border payments within the eurozone would make no sense and would hamper the functioning of the Single Market".

TheEuropean Banking Federation (EBF)recently claimed that the banks could not be ready by the date proposed in the Commission proposal to charge equal amounts for national and cross-border transfers in euro. It therefore proposed an alternative timespan in October 2001.

The Commission welcomed the vote by the Parliament, because, asCommissioner Frits Bolkesteinput it, it "sends a strong signal to Europe's citizens that the Commission and the Parliament want to ensure that they enjoy the full benefits of the introduction of euro notes and coins within the Internal Market".

 

In July 2001 the Commission launched a proposal for a regulation on cross-border payments in euro which will oblige banks in all Member States to levy the same charges for cross-border and domestic payments (seeEURACTIV 25 July 2001) by 2003. This action is part of the Commission's Financial Services Action Plan.

 

The Internal Market Council has the draft Regulation on its agenda for 26 November 2001.

 

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