Prague, March 25th, 2009
The Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) approved a proposal for a new Regulation on cross-border payments in euro today.
It is a compromise text agreed between the EU Council and the European Parliament. The European Parliament should officially approve the proposal during its plenary session in the second half of April. The EU Council will then formally confirm it at its May meeting.
The new Regulation addresses the development of the market in cross-border payments, in particular the creation of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). It is to replace the existing Regulation from 2001, which introduced the principle of equal charges for domestic payment transactions and the corresponding cross-border transactions in euro.
The new Regulation extends this principle to direct debit forms of payment, which is important for the introduction of a single form of cross-border direct debit in euros (the SEPA direct debit scheme) from 1 November 2009. In relation to direct debit transactions, the Regulation also sets out clear rules for charging multilateral interchange fees (MIF) and establishes the mandatory availability of payment accounts for direct debit payments across the European Union. For Member States which have not yet adopted the euro, the rules on mandatory availability will apply a year after their entry into the euro area, but no later than 2014.
Another important innovation is the establishment of procedures for out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes in the area covered by the Regulation.
The new Regulation will strengthen the protection of consumer rights and encourage the development of a modern and efficient system of payments in the EU. It will be directly applicable in all Member States as of 1 November 2009.
Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Finance
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