The European Central Bank has issued a raft of amendments to a draft Directive on harmonising payment services in the EU, and warned that any delays in adoption of the rules could wreck the proposed timetable for the introduction of a Single Euro Payments Area (Sepa).
The draft Directive is intended to create a comprehensive legal framework for payment services across the EU and smooth the way for the introduction of Sepa-compliant national schemes on 1 January 2008 and the full migration of these by 2010.
In formulating its opinion on the proposed Directive, the ECB has been careful to avoid diverging interpretations with the existing e-money Directive, in particular taking account of the need to differentiate between payment services based on payment accounts and e-money payment services based on centralised accounting.
The ECB's intervention will be welcomed by the banking industry as it will ensure a level regulatory playing field with competing e-money suppliers.
In order to safeguard the Sepa timetable, the central bank suggests that the EU seperate the proposed Directive so that the more contentious issues which might delay its progress are detached from the basic policy and legal changes required for successful implementation of the Sepa programme.Download the document now 105.5 kb (Adobe Acrobat Document)