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IP/01/1595

Brussels, 15th November 2001

Commission welcomes Parliament's support for proposal on cross-border payments in euros

The European Commission has welcomed the European Parliament's endorsement of the proposed Regulation according to which charges for transactions in euros in the Internal Market should be the same across borders as within a single Member State. The Parliament voted in favour of the proposal at its 15th November plenary session in Strasbourg. The amendments voted by the Parliament were supported by the Commission.

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said "I welcome the European Parliament's steadfast support for our proposal. This 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. Critics of the proposal are trying to head it off with last minute promises to cut the cost of cross-border transactions. But as the Commission has heard such promises for more than twelve years whilst the cost of cross-border transfers has remained the same, the credibility of these promises is doubtful. I am pleased that the Parliament has demonstrated that it shares the Commission's view. I hope that EU Ministers will also approve the proposal at the Internal Market Council on 26th November".

The proposal, presented by the Commission in July 2001 (see IP/01/1084 and MEMO/01/279) would require:

  • the charges for withdrawals from cash machines, use of bank cards, credit transfers and cheques to be the same, when denominated in euros, for both national and cross-border transactions

  • customers to be properly informed in advance of the charges they will incur when making cross-border payments. Any price changes would have to be notified in advance as well.

  • mandatory use of the ISO standard codes, namely IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code), in order to allow banks to process credit transfers in a fully automated way.

A survey published by the Commission in September 2001 indicated that the average cost of cross-border credit charges remained virtually the same in 2001 as in 1993 (€24 for transfers of €100 see IP/01/1293 and MEMO/01/294).


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