EU Flash: Bank accounts, Credit Rating Agencies, ECOFIN (Weekly update from 6-17/05/13)

20/05/2013

Commission publishes proposals on bank accounts

On 8 May, the European Commission published its proposal for a Directive on the transparency and comparability of payment account fees, payment account switching and access to a basic payment account

The Commission proposals tackle three areas:

  • Comparability of payment account fees: by making it easier for consumers to compare the fees charged for payment accounts by banks and other payment service providers in the EU;
  • Payment account switching: by establishing a simple and quick procedure for consumers who wish to change from their payment account to one with another bank or payment service provider;
  • Access to payment accounts: by allowing EU consumers who want to open a payment account, without being residents of the country where the payment service provider is located, to do so. Moreover, these provisions will allow all EU consumers, irrespective of their financial situation, to open a payment account that allows them to perform essential operations, such as receiving their salary, pensions and allowances or payment of utility bills etc.

More information, can be found here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-415_en.htm

Council adopts new rules on Credit Rating Agencies

On 13 May, the Council has adopted a directive and a regulation amending the EU's rules on credit rating agencies (CRAs) .

The directive and regulation amend existing legislation on CRAs in order to reduce investors' over-reliance on external credit ratings, mitigate the risk of conflicts of interest in credit rating activities and increase transparency and competition in the sector.

This clears the way for it and the accompanying Directive to be published in the Official Journal of the EU shortly. The Regulation and Directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the OJ. ESMA will however have to work on many of the level 2 issues which we will also have an interest in.  Information will follow on next steps in this regard in due course.

The Council’s press release can be found here: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ecofin/137078.pdf

The Economic and Financial Council (ECOFIN) has taken place on 14 May

At the ECOFIN of 14 May, the following main results were achieved:

  • The European Ministers of Finance held a debate on the Directive for bank recovery and resolution.
  • The Council adopted a mandate for the Commission to negotiate updated savings tax agreements with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino.
  • The Council adopted conclusions on tax evasion and tax fraud, highlighting the need for a combination of efforts at national, EU and global levels, and confirming support for work within the G8, the G20 and the OECD on the automatic exchange of information.
  • It adopted conclusions on (1) macroeconomic imbalances, in the light of in-depth reviews of imbalances in 13 member states; (2) SEPA, the single euro payments area; and (3) the fast-start financing of climate change measures.
  • The Council also welcomed a compromise reached with the European Parliament on a draft directive on mortgage credit.

The full press release can be found here: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ecofin/137122.pdf

The European Commission launched a consultation on structural bank reform

On 16 May, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the structural reform of the banking sector.

The consultation focuses on the key attributes of the structural reform; i.e. the scope of activities, the strength of separation, and the possible institutional scope and is open to all stakeholders.

The deadline for consultation is 3 July 2013.

More information and consultation documents can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/consultations/2013/banking-structural-reform/index_en.htm

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