Brussels, 17 May 2006
The European Commission has launched a dialogue between the EU mortgage lending industry and consumer associations with a view to creating an integrated EU mortgage credit market for the benefit of consumers. The aim of the dialogue is reach a consensus on key consumer protection measures. The process is being driven jointly by Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, and Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.
At the kick-off meeting, Commissioner McCreevy said: "We believe that a genuine attempt must be made to bring the positions of industry and consumers together, in order to establish - wherever possible - not only general principles but also acceptable standards in the field of consumer protection. This will not be an easy task, and much will depend on whether this group is able to reach workable compromises."
Commissioner Kyprianou stressed: “The aim of this dialogue should be to reach a win-win situation, where both business and consumer agree on the content of future common rules. We need to reach a situation where consumers are confident enough to make use of an integrated mortgage market. This will only happen if they are sure that they are equally well protected across the market and if there are real gains to be achieved.”
A lack of information, legal barriers and a low level of consumer confidence in cross-border transactions are currently hindering inter-Member State activity in mortgages from reaching its full potential. An EU internal market for mortgage credit, if properly established and managed, could offer many advantages, including increased choice and lower interest rates and fees for the consumer and better business opportunities for mortgage suppliers.
The Commission will host seven meetings between representatives of the mortgage lenders and consumer associations before the end of 2006, focussing primarily on the themes of information, advice, early repayment and annual percentage rate (APR). The results of the dialogue will be taken into account in the drafting of an EU White Paper on mortgage credit in 2007.
More information on the integration of EU mortgage markets is available at: