The European Commission has adopted a Communication regarding the implementation of SEPA (the Single European Payments Area). The Communication is entitled Completing SEPA: a Roadmap for 2009-2012 and is in response to the Commission Communication entitled Driving European recovery.

SEPA is a European banking initiative with the object of creating an integrated electronic payment services market within the EU. Once in place, consumers, businesses and public authorities would be able to make payments across European borders as easily as in their own countries.

The Communication presents six themes:

  • Foster migration. Taking steps to speed up migration to the new system should minimise the costs of running it in parallel with legacy systems.
  • Increase SEPA awareness and promote SEPA products. The Commission expects improved and tailored communications to facilitate the take-up and implementation of SEPA.
  • Design a sound legal environment and strengthen SEPA compliance. An orderly take-up of SEPA will depend on the removal of legal barriers, and increased competition in the payments market will require the development of proper business models.
  • Promote innovation. The Commission sees SEPA providing the impetus to modernise the market for payment systems. Innovation is expected in the areas of internet and mobile phone payments, and electronic invoicing.
  • Ensure necessary standardisation, interoperability and security. This is seen as essential to get the best results from a network industry.
  • Clarify and improve SEPA governance. An EU-level system of governance is needed to monitor and support the implementation of SEPA while at the same time ensuring the necessary transparency and accountability.

View Single Euro Payments Area: Commission presents actions to make SEPA a success, 10 September 2009