Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-04-23-Speech-1-074"

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". Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, on 1 December 2005, the European Commission published a proposal for a directive on payment services within the internal market with the aim of creating a genuine single payments market within the European Union. Given the significant progress made at the time of ECOFIN in terms of Parliament’s position and the objective of the parties involved to reach an agreement at first reading, I have tabled just one amendment in plenary, which takes up the ECOFIN compromise. I call on my fellow Members to endorse this amendment. An Amendment 287, on data protection, aimed at amending Article 71, has been tabled by the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left. I do not believe that this amendment should be adopted by Parliament. On the other hand, it would be helpful, Commissioner – and I am also addressing the representatives of the Presidency and of the Council – if assurances were given, in this regard, to our Parliament. The compromise text is certainly not perfect, and some of my fellow Members will perhaps have the opportunity to say so. It does, however, have the virtue of laying the already solid foundations of an internal payments market. It is important to stress what this advance, which will result in the harmonisation of what are, today, strictly national payment systems, represents. It is worth highlighting the fact that we are not just talking here about cross-border payments, which account for less than 5% of payments, but indeed of all payments that are made. In spite of its obviously technical nature, this text has a definite political scope. It improves relations between consumers and financial payment service providers and contributes to the Lisbon Strategy. However, I should also like to point out that, on this specific and particularly sensitive subject – specific and particularly sensitive because it could give rise to conflicts of interest – Parliament, the diverse institution that it is, has found a solution more quickly than the governments. This is perhaps because we, in this House, have more than elsewhere… On my appointment as Parliament rapporteur in January 2006, I thought that, even though some of the Commission’s estimates seemed optimistic, the creation of such a market through the harmonisation of national laws would enable some obstacles to be removed and would impact positively on growth. I therefore approved in principle of the European Commission’s initiative. Furthermore, this proposal for a directive came at the right time to help make a success of the banking sector’s initiative to create a single euro payments area. The objectives declared by the European Commission were to increase competition by creating new participants – you made this point just now, Commissioner – to make the market more transparent for service providers and for users, and to clarify the rights and obligations of users and service providers. In a bid to make this legislative proposal more effective and to take account of the technical constraints of the industry, while maintaining the objective of reducing costs for the benefits of users, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs adopted a number of coordinated amendments, which have at last gained the unanimous approval of the committee members. All throughout the procedure, there have been informal contacts between the representatives of the European Parliament, of the successive presidencies and of the European Commission. These discussions enabled Parliament – which, on this rare occasion, took a stand before the Council had reached an agreement – to have a tangible influence on the negotiations at the Council. I am particularly pleased with our fruitful cooperation with the German Presidency, which has not spared any efforts, and with your Commission. On 27 March 2007, the ministers of finance, gathered together within the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, at last unanimously adopted a general approach on the compromise text. This compromise is, in my opinion, acceptable today. I should like to thank the German Presidency. Its effective work and solid cooperation with the European Parliament have meant that this matter is now on the verge of success. The Council has drawn closer to Parliament on the key points, namely the reduction of the scope to payments in euros or in the other currencies used within the European Union – with there being an option to adjust this after a trial period – the restriction on exercise of the activities of payment institutions to legal persons, the implementation of strict conditions for authorisation to provide payment services, the introduction of initial and ongoing capital, the isolation of funds for hybrid establishments, the limitation of the granting of credit to 12 months with a ban on revolving credit, and the introduction of a provision indicating that the granting of credit must not contradict national and European rules relating, among other things, to consumer credit. There has also been a closer alignment with regard to clearer information for consumers, thanks to a distinction being made between information that must actively be provided and information that must merely be made available to consumers; to the opportunity provided to micro-companies to benefit from the same protection as consumers where information is concerned; and, lastly, to the limited option of derogation, with a maximum volume of transactions fixed at EUR 3 million. The text, as it stands, stipulates a J+1 execution time and the clear division of responsibilities between the various payment service providers in the event of a transaction being poorly executed. It is on this compromise text that Parliament will vote tomorrow."@en1

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