European Parliament approves transition period of six months

EPEuropean Commissioner Michel Barnier is pleased that on February 4th 2014 the European Parliament has approved his proposal that allows non SEPA compliant payments to continue for a limited period of time, until August 1st  2014, in parallel with SEPA compliant payments. In a press release he states that the adoption of the proposal ensures the continued smooth processing of payments for consumers and businesses.

The European Commission proposed a delay for sixth months because numbers showed that the migration rates were too low, which meant that it was ‘highly unlikely’ that the target of 100% for SCT and SDD was reached in on February 1st 2014. Even though new statistics from the European Central bank showed that the migration was going faster in December 2013, the European Parliament was in favour for granting a transition period.

According to the press release the objective is to ensure payments are not blocked in cases stakeholders are not ready, and thus minimise any possible risk of disruption to payments for consumers and businesses, in particular SMEs. Payment service users can thus be certain that their payments will continue to be processed, and those who have not yet migrated have the time to do so. The proposal will apply with retroactive effect.

Barnier: “As I said when I made the proposal last month, I call once more on Member States to fully assume their responsibilities and accelerate and intensify efforts to migrate to SEPA so that all can enjoy its benefits, that is, faster and cheaper payments across Europe. The transition period will not be extended after August 1st 2014.”

Formal adoption in the Council will take place during the next coming days.

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