Comments in response to European Commission's questions on SEPA governance (email from MARKT-SEPA@ec.europa.eu dated 23 June 2011)

The EACT has for some time been pushing for the European Commission and the ECB to reassess the quality of governance of the SEPA process. The issue was raised as an agenda item at the most recent SEPA Council meeting, where the EACT Chairman Richard Raeburn represents both the EACT and Business Europe. Following that meeting the EACT was invited, along with the national stakeholder organisations handling the implementation of SEPA, to comment in response to two questions about SEPA governance.

The EACT continues to argue strongly that there needs to be a clear distinction between the work of the European Payments Council in practical implementation of SEPA products and processes, on the one hand, and strategic oversight of SEPA on the other hand. In the case of the latter our view is that end-users, as vital stakeholders in SEPA, have not had a proper voice and the SEPA initiative has paid inadequate attention to end-users.

In our response to the Commission's questions we state clearly that the SEPA Council should have an enhanced role, in which it is seen by the Commission and the ECB as providing strategic input on SEPA to the two institutions. We argue that for this role to be effective it should be expected that resources are made available to the SEPA Council as necessary; these would allow the Council to take a properly informed view of the issues in its meetings. The overall intention is that all stakeholders, rather than simply the banking industry, should be able to take a lead in making a success of SEPA. You can read our full response to the Commission here. The two questions have been added to the original submission and can be seen on page 2 of the document.

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