This year is very special for the European Payments Council ( ), which celebrates its 20th anniversary. To mark this occasion, the organised a conference on 16 June 2022 with the following theme: “Integrated, innovative and competitive European payments: a generation’s effort or a never-ending quest?” where some 300 European payment executives and experts exchanged views and heard speeches and panels that cast light on the past, current and future challenges facing payments in Europe. In this article, you will find some takeaways and compilations of the videos from this unique day.
The European public authorities are fully convinced of the importance of payments, recognise the achievements made to date towards but are determined to foster further progress by enacting supporting legislation (e.g. regarding instant payments) or by implementing initiatives from the public sector (e.g. ‘digital euro’), in partnership with the private sector.
Looking back over the last 20 years, the has made a great contribution to the harmonisation of payments across Europe by creating a common understanding among and alignment of the various national communities. The should, in future, continue to do this in a fast-changing world based on its enlarged membership, scope and stakeholder involvement.
VIDEO Panel 1 I Looking back – lessons for the future from 20 years of European payments integration
Digital ID and biometrics are likely to be part of the future of payments; however, the specific needs of individual users who either cannot access or are unwilling to make use of digital devices require special attention, as do the stipulations of corporates. Both public authorities and banks have a role to play. Standards, security and trust are key.
Cooperation between the private and public sectors is critical for the future of European payments. This requires trust, dialogue and a shared understanding about the vision and its rationale, with each sector playing its role. If payments are deemed strategically important for Europe, the question of public-sector funding of major pan-European payment initiatives becomes relevant.
Technology presents a dichotomy between threats and opportunities. A balance between security and convenience needs to be properly struck. Consumer data protection and access to cash in a rapidly digitising payment arena are two other key themes. Technology not only reacts promptly to what the market needs, but also in many cases arrives ahead of the market, anticipating future needs of consumers and businesses. Technology also shows us the future of payments.
It is likely that we will live with more shifts, more disruptions, and more complexity in the payments area in the future. Payments are regional in nature and focus with the need for global interlinkages. When looking ahead, it is important to benefit from an agile legislative framework that supports and does not stifle innovation, to accelerate the rollout of instant payments, to work on digital ID and, importantly, not to forget risk management and security aspects, given that payments are based on trust – one of the most valuable assets of banks.
Finally, Javier Santamaría, Chair of the closed the event with the following conclusion:
We are initiating the second twenty years of the and our mandate remains relevant: add value to all across , be efficient at various steps, preserve the level playing field, join forces for the benefit of the European consumers and the market, work in close conjunction with all the stakeholder communities. It is not a mission for the faint-hearted. We need you, come and join us!
It was a day full of ideas, reflections, exchanges and food for thought. We would once more like to thank all the speakers and participants at this exceptional event!
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