For the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) to succeed, an
end-date for migration from existing payments products to SEPA
products must be set is a view that has been expressed by a host of
participants in the European payments industry.
It is a view shared by the European Central Bank (ECB) which in its
sixth SEPA progress report published in November 2008 lamented:
“The Eurosystem [Eurozone’s monetary authority] has observed that
motivation for the project has been fading away among market
participants, and that the constructive spirit of the preparation
phase has turned into a downbeat attitude.”
Against this background the ECB concluded: “It must be made clear
to all market actors that national credit transfer and direct debit
schemes will be phased out in the euro area by setting a realistic,
but ambitious end-date.”
The full extent of support for an end-date is now to be assessed by
the European Commission (EC) which has launched a consultation
paper in which it calls on stakeholders to assist it identify
whether there is a need for action in respect of an end-date.
Should an end-date be found to be necessary the consultation paper
poses specific questions in this regard:
• Should there be one common end-date for SEPA Credit Transfers and
SEPA Direct Debits migration or two separate end-dates?
• Should they be set at national level and/or at European level?
• Should they be left to self-regulation or set by
Deadline for submissions to the EC is 3 August 2009.