In February 2012, the European co-legislators, i.e. the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (EU) representing EU Member States, adopted the 'Regulation (EU) No 260/2012 establishing technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro’. This legislative act is also known as the Single Euro Payments Area () Regulation. Article 6 (1) and (2) of the Regulation mandates that credit transfers and direct debits shall be carried out in accordance with the relevant requirements set out in Article 5 and in the Annex to the Regulation by 1 February 2014, subject to certain limited exemptions mentioned in the Regulation. In non euro countries, the deadline will be 31 October 2016. Effectively, this means that as of these dates, existing national euro credit transfer and direct debit schemes will be replaced by Credit Transfer and Direct Debit.
The European Commission introduced, on 9 January 2014, a proposal for a new EU Regulation amending the Regulation to “give an extra transition period of six months during which payments which differ from the format can still be accepted” in the euro area after 1 February 2014.
In February 2014, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, respectively, adopted a new ‘Regulation () No 248/2014 amending Regulation () No 260/2012 as regards the migration to Union-wide credit transfers and direct debits’ (see ‘related links’ below). This new Regulation states, among other things (italics added): “In Article 16 of Regulation () No 260/2012, paragraph 1 is replaced by the following: (...) By way of derogation from Article 6(1) and (2), [payment service providers] may continue, until 1 August 2014, to process payment transactions in euro in formats that are different from those required for credit transfers and direct debits pursuant to this Regulation. [EU] Member States shall apply the rules on the penalties applicable to infringements of Article 6(1) and (2) (…) from 2 August 2014.”
In the view of the European Commission, this procedure “does not change the formal deadline for migration of 1 February 2014.” Consequently, Article 6(1) and (2) of Regulation (EU) No 260/2012, which stipulates the 1 February 2014 compliance date, remains unchanged.
Regulation () No 248/2014 was published in the Official Journal of the on 20 March 2014. Article 2 of Regulation () No 248/2014 states: “This Regulation shall enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It shall apply, with retroactive effect, from 31 January 2014.”
(Please note: the European Payments Council (), representing the European banking industry in relation to payments, is not an EU legislative body. More generally, the is not part of the EU institutional framework. The has therefore, no role in the adoption or modification of any EU laws.)
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