SEPA Governance: Setting the Record Straight. SEPA is European integra...

SEPA Governance: Setting the Record Straight. SEPA is European integration in action. This process allows any party to engage. There is no 'SEPA governance issue'

25 October 13

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Several Brussels-based lobbying organisations regularly claim that the Single Euro Payments Area () process is ‘driven exclusively by the banking industry' and ‘leaves out all other stakeholders'. In the view of the , this statement is inaccurate and misrepresents the role of the in the process.

The , as mandated by the relevant European authorities, develops the payment schemes and frameworks based on global technical standards. The schemes are key elements required to making a reality. The however, is not responsible for the overall management of the process. This is the task of the relevant public authorities including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council representing European Union (EU) Member States, the European Central Bank (ECB) and EU governments. Payment service users are a very important partner in the process.

The Credit Transfer () and Direct Debit (SDD) Schemes are developed by the in close dialogue with the entire European payment community (demand and supply sides), and have evolved based on an open and inclusive scheme change management process. This process provides all stakeholders with the opportunity to actively introduce suggestions for modifications to the schemes and to take part in the annual three-month public consultation on updates to be incorporated into the schemes. Detailed information on the scheme change management process is featured prominently on the Website with a view to alert all stakeholders on how to engage (see links below). The has a proven track record of consulting stakeholders with regard to deliverables.

It should be noted that some suggestions for changes to the schemes repeatedly brought forth by specific interest groups fail to find broad support on both the demand and supply sides of the entire payment market. The however, is bound to respect majority views as identified during the annual public consultation on scheme development. As a result, the cannot incorporate such requests into the and or SDD Schemes which lack broad support. In the view of the it is inappropriate to disqualify a process designed to identify majority views as ‘ignoring user requests'. This claim is however repeatedly made by some of the parties which also - erroneously - identify a ‘ governance issue'.

is an integration initiative shaped in accordance with law and policies. Subject to applicable procedures, any interest group is free to engage in dialogue with the institutions. Available data indicates that there are up to 30,000 lobbyists active in Brussels. The legislative process leading to the adoption of the forthcoming ‘Regulation Establishing Technical Requirements for Credit Transfers and Direct Debits in Euros' (the ‘ Regulation') confirms that lobbying organisations representing specific interest groups have successfully channeled their views into this Regulation. One has to also keep in mind that in future the payment schemes will have to comply with the requirements mandated by the European Commission; i.e. the regulator will take over the role of the scheme manager.

As such, the process was never ‘driven exclusively by the banking industry'. Anyone who feels that the decision-making process is at fault is certainly free to challenge the institutions on the matter, however, should refrain from fabricating a ‘ governance issue'.

The debate must now focus on how to orchestrate mass migration to the harmonised payment schemes. The invites all parties to close ranks with a view to make happen in the real world.

For more information, please refer to the following links:

EPC Newsletter article ‘SEPA Governance: Setting the Record Straight'

EPC Website: SEPA Customers

EPC Website: SCT / SDD Rulebook Release Management and Scheme Development

EPC Publication: Shortcut to Who is Who in SEPA

European Parliament Website: Lobbyists accredited to the European Parliament

The Transparency Register for Organisations and Self-Employed Individuals Engaged in EU Policy-Making and Policy Implementation

European Commission SEPA Website

European Central Bank SEPA Website

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