Public Administrations do not fully meet Expectations - yet

Public Administrations do not fully meet Expectations - yet

Commission services publish latest data on SEPA preparedness of public sector

30 September 09

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If is to succeed, the public sector should be among the key players to make it happen

Public administrations play a fundamental role in . As a key user group of electronic payments, public administrations initiate and receive millions of transactions every day. In the euro area, the public sector represents around 45 per cent of the GDP and around 15 per cent of all credit transfers. Given the substantial benefits of to the wider economy, public administrations can and should play a catalytic role in creating the critical mass that is needed to accelerate migration. This is crucial considering that Credit Transfer () uptake remains a low 3.9 per cent across the euro area in May 2009.

Survey coverage

The analysis of this second survey is based both on migration related data received from individual public administrations and on data at Member State level submitted by the designated authority coordinating public sector migration efforts in the respective country. These coordinating authorities are in almost all cases the Ministries of Finance/State Treasuries.

In total, for the reporting period of March 2009, 102 public administrations have submitted individual replies and 23 Member States have provided a coordinated reply giving an overview of public administrations' migration at national level.

There is a considerable variety in the level of representativity of the results. In some euro area Member States the estimated share of replying public administrations is relatively high, e.g. for Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Luxemburg, Malta and Slovakia, the estimated percentage share of public administrations credit transfers covered by the responses exceeds 70 per cent; on the other hand, for Austria, Greece and Ireland, the estimated percentage share of public administrations credit transfers covered by the responses is below 20 per cent. Overall for the euro area an estimated 52 per cent of all credit transfers undertaken by public administrations at central government level would appear to be covered by this survey.

Setting up of a specific migration plan and steering body for public administrations

Coordination in the form of a common, national migration plan for all public administrations currently takes place in only 6 Member States, namely Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Malta and Slovenia. Spain expects to adopt such common national migration plan for public administrations in November 2009. Finland, Ireland, and Slovakia rely on their general national migration plan. Germany and the Netherlands are not planning to develop a plan due to the decentralised structure of their public administrations.

In 8 Member States dedicated central steering bodies have been established to drive migration of public administrations (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden). Of these Member States, Belgium, France and Malta have set up an inter-ministerial steering body. In Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden this coordination role is fulfilled by the Ministry of Finance/State Treasury and in Cyprus by the national central bank.

Actual migration rate

The survey results show that the actual migration rate by replying public administrations, especially at domestic level, is still lagging behind expectations. In the euro area, for the reporting period of March 2009, the migration rate by public administrations was 2.3 per cent and followed the trend of the overall national migration figure of 2.9 per cent. In this respect, it seems that public administrations are not fulfilling their catalyst role for the migration, despite being heavy users of payment services. However, three exceptions can be pointed out, namely Luxembourg, Slovenia and Belgium, with rates of 100 per cent, 60 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Public administrations in six Members States have set an end-date for migration to (phasing out of legacy credit transfers)

Administrations in 6 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, the Netherlands and Slovakia) have defined an end date after which legacy credit transfers will become obsolete. Additional positive examples can be observed in several individual public administrations where a common national target end-date does not exist yet. These administrations have set their own specific target dates, namely in Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Migration to IBAN and BIC

IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code) are the only permissible account identifiers in . The survey shows that across the whole , 15 per cent of replying public administrations have fully completed migration to IBAN/BIC (Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Romania); 17 per cent have partially started to initiate domestic payments with IBAN and BIC and 68 per cent have not yet started to use IBAN/BIC at all. Six Member States (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, the Netherlands and Slovakia), where IBAN and BIC is not yet fully used, have set up a common target date for all public administrations to convert from BBAN to IBAN/BIC.

Migration to the ISO 20022 messaging standard (the Data Format)

Concerning the ISO 20022 format, across the whole 89 per cent of replying public administrations still submit payment instructions to their bank using a national file format for credit transfers; only 1 per cent fully use the new ISO 20022 format and 10 per cent partially use the ISO 20022 format. However, eight Member States (Austria, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovakia) have set up a common end-date for migration to ISO 20022 formats by all public administrations.

The first Annual Progress Report on the state of migration issued by the Commission services in February 2009 concluded with regard to the migration rate by public authorities in the : "Since its launch, the uptake of in the public sector has been very limited." The latest findings show that this situation has not fundamentally changed yet. However, the results of the second survey indicate that public administrations have stepped up their coordination efforts and are currently preparing to move steadily to the new standards. The European Commission will continue to monitor preparedness of the public sector in the future. At the same time, the Commission will encourage public administrations to further speed up the migration process.


Zuzana Kalivodova serves as Seconded National Expert with the European Commission, DG Internal Market & Services. Gerd Heinen is Policy Officer at the European Commission, DG Internal Market & Services.

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