While finance ministers are still debating the proposal for a directive on the the legal framework for a single European payment market, the banking sector is calling for more certainty. At a conference stakeholders pointed out the challenges, as well as opportunities, of SEPA.
Progress in the Council on the proposed directive on SEPA directive has proved to be slow at the EcoFin meeting on 28 November 2006. Finance ministers did not reach a political deal, but instead took note of a progress report.
Ahead of the Council meeting Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy told the Parliament on 21 November 2006: “We all need to move, and move rapidly right now. The market, through the innovations made by operators, is moving ahead quickly. Legislators are falling behind. Member states need to move beyond national preoccupations.”
Indeed the Commission’s target to set up SEPA from 1 January 2008 and replace national payment systems by 2010 is already threatened. It is therefore likely that an adoption of the framework directive will take longer than expected.