10 February 2016

"There is no 'Sepa governance issue'" - EPC hits out at Brussel lobbyists

03 November 2011  |  6877 views  |  0 EU building, Brussels

The European Payments Council, currently undergoing an anti-trust review by the European Commission over allegations that it is abusing its standards-setting role to block new entrants to the payments market, has hit out at the influence wielded by lobbyists in Brussels, who it claims are poisoning the debate over the shift to a single euro payments area (Sepa).

The EC initiated a probe into the EPC's standards-setting role in September, following complaints from unidentified lobby groups that the bank-backed body was acting to restrict competition from non-bank entrants to the market.

Responding, EPC chair Gerard Hartsink points out that Sepa is an EU integration initiative shaped in accordance with EU law and policies and that "it is not driven exclusively by the banking industry".

Citing data which suggests that there are up to 30,000 lobbyists active in Brussels, Hartsink says: "Anyone who feels that the EU decision-making process is at fault is certainly free to challenge the EU institutions on the matter, however, they should refrain from fabricating a 'Sepa governance issue'."

The view has been echoed by EPC board member Javier Santamaría of Banco Santander, who accuses lobbyists of deliberately muddying the waters.

"There is no 'Sepa governance issue'," he says. "On the contrary, the debate regarding this particular EU integration initiative has been extensive and open to all interest groups at every juncture of the process. Reinforcing the notion of flawed 'Sepa governance' against all evidence is detrimental to promoting the Sepa programme which first and foremost benefits bank customers. It is therefore hoped that the principal moderators of the political Sepa debate, ie the European Commission and the ECB, will take this phantom discussion off the agenda.

"Dedicating a substantial part of the two annual meetings of the Sepa Council to non-existent 'Sepa governance' issues hardly helps the market to move forward."

Comments: (0)

Comment on this story (membership required)
Log in to receive notifications when someone posts a comment

Finextra news in your inbox

For Finextra's free daily newsletter, breaking news flashes and weekly jobs board, sign up now.

Related blogs

Create a blog about this story (membership required)

Related stories

26 September, 2011
19 September, 2011
22 August, 2011
14 July, 2011
08 April, 2011
14 March, 2011
16 December, 2010
01 November, 2010
07 June, 2010
13 October, 2009

Related company news


Top topics

Most viewed Most shared
Fintech rising: Resistance is futile, says...
11972 views comments | 51 tweets | 45 linkedin
Digital transformation driving earnings at...
10714 views comments | 49 tweets | 43 linkedin
Visa opens up to developers
8757 views comments | 24 tweets | 41 linkedin
UK sets out open banking API framework
8013 views comments | 59 tweets | 54 linkedin
European mobile banking service Pocopay go...
7399 views comments | 24 tweets | 14 linkedin

Featured job

Competitive Package
New York City, NY. USA

Find your next job