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Brussels, 14 July 2005

Banking: Commission launches reviews of E-Money and Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directives

The European Commission has launched reviews of two banking Directives: the E-Money Directive (2000/46/EC) and the Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (94/19/EC). The Commission wants to analyse whether these directives completely fulfil their initial objectives and are conducive to the competitiveness of the industry. Stakeholders are invited to give the Commission their views on these issues.

Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “These reviews are proof that the Commission is serious about delivering Better Regulation. I am personally committed to ensuring that the Directives we adopt fulfil their objectives and improve the functioning of the Single Market. Should the evidence prove that this is not the case, we will not hesitate to take decisive action. I encourage all interested parties to give us their views on these two Directives - we will listen.”

The E-Money Directive (2000/46/EC) was conceived and adopted at the height of the E-Commerce boom, and was intended to facilitate access by non-credit institutions to the business of e-money issuance. The difficulty to foresee at the time how the business of e-money issuance would evolve has prompted the Commission to re-assess whether the legal framework is still in tune with modern market developments. Advances in technology have spurned new business models, such as payments by mobile telephone, payments using transport cards, as well as internet payment facilities. This consultation is a follow-up to an earlier consultation on e-money and mobile operators which was finalised earlier this year[1], and will form an important part of a wide-ranging review of the E-Money Directive, which will also involve consultations with Member States as well as the commissioning of an independent study to be carried out by consultants. It is intended to come forward with a report containing recommendations by Spring 2006.

The Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (94/19/EC) obliges all Member States to set up compensation schemes for depositors. It establishes a minimum guarantee level of €20,000 whereby should a bank fail, depositors throughout the EU would be guaranteed to receive their money back up to that amount. However some Member States have introduced higher guarantee thresholds, and the manner in which the schemes function in practice has also not been converged. The differences in deposit guarantee schemes may prove problematic in the case of pan-European banking structures, but also more generally in the face on an increasing tendency towards EU integration of the banking market, these differences may inhibit the development of a sound framework for cross-border groups from competition and financial stability perspectives.

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