Tag Archives: Euro

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors' assets

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Even with a court judgment obtained, recovering cross-border debts may be difficult for creditors in practice if no information on the debtors’ assets or whereabouts is available. Because of this, the European Commission has adopted a Green Paper launching a public consultation on how to improve the recovery of debts through possible measures such as registers and debtor declarations.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 6 March 2008 on the effective enforcement of judgments in the European Union: the transparency of debtors’ assets [COM(2008) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The late and non-payment of debts is detrimental to business and customers alike, particularly when no information is available on the debtor’s assets or whereabouts. This is a particular cross-border issue in debt recovery and has the potential to affect the smooth running of the internal market. In launching a public consultation, the European Commission has outlined the problems of the current situation and possible solutions in this Green Paper. Interested parties can submit their comments by 30 September 2008.

State of play

The search for a debtor’s address and information on his financial situation is often the starting point for enforcement proceedings. At national level, most Member States mainly use two different systems for obtaining information, either:

  • systems of declaration of the debtor’s entire assets or at least a part of it to satisfy the claim;
  • search systems with specific information (registers).

In this Green Paper, the European Commission focuses more on a series of measures instead of one single European measure to allow the creditor to obtain reliable information on the debtor’s assets and whereabouts within a reasonable period of time. Possible measures include:

  • drawing up a manual of national enforcement laws and practices: at present, there is very little information on the different enforcement systems in the 27 European Union Member States. Such a manual could contain all sources of information on a person’s assets, which could be accessed in each country; contact addresses, costs, etc.
  • increasing the information available and improving access to registers: the main sources of information on the debtor are public registers, such as commercial or population registers. However, these vary from one Member State to the next. The Commission is asking whether to increase information available in and access to commercial registers and in what way access to existing population registers should be enhanced. Furthermore, access to social security and tax registers by enforcement authorities may be increased, while respecting rules of data protection and social and fiscal privacy.
  • exchange of information between enforcement authorities: currently, enforcement bodies are not able to directly access the (non-public) registers of other Member States which are open to national enforcement bodies. In addition, there are no international instruments dealing with the exchange of information between national enforcement bodies. In the absence of a Europe-wide register, enhancing cooperation between national enforcement authorities and direct exchange of information between them may a possible solution.
  • measures relating to the debtor’s declaration: enforcement bodies have in several Member States the option to question the debtor directly regarding his assets, whereas in some Member States the debtor’s declaration is made in the form of a testimony before the enforcement court. In some Member States, the debtor has to fill out mandatory forms, and in others a debtor’s declaration does not exist at all. The European Commission is considering introducing a European Assets declaration, obliging the debtors to disclose all assets in the European judicial area. In this way, the transparency of the debtor’s assets would not be limited by the territoriality of the enforcement proceedings.

Common guidelines: the national sides of euro coins

Common guidelines: the national sides of euro coins

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common guidelines: the national sides of euro coins

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

Common guidelines: the national sides of euro coins

As the new Member States gradually introduce the euro, the number of national sides of euro circulation coins will increase. For the national sides of both normal coins and commemorative coins, this Recommendation lays down common guidelines to strengthen the overall coherence of the euro coinage system.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Recommendation 2005/491/EC of 3 June 2005 on common guidelines for the national sides of euro circulation coins [Official Journal L 186 of 18.7.2005].

Summary

In this Recommendation, the European Commission lays down common guidelines for the national sides of euro coins. The Ecofin Council of 7 June 2005 [PDF ] welcomed these common guidelines, which were drawn up in close cooperation with the Member States.

Indicating the issuing Member State and specifying the information appearing on the national side

The national sides of all denominations of euro circulation coins must indicate the Member State issuing the coin. This may be done by indicating the name of the Member State or by an abbreviation of it.

Also, the national side should not repeat any indication of the denomination, or any parts thereof. Nor should the name of the single currency or of its subdivision appear on the national side, unless such indication stems from the use of a different alphabet.

On the other hand, the edge lettering of the two-euro coin may bear an indication of the denomination, but only if the figure “2” and/or the term “euro” is used.

Informing the other Member States about new national sides

Under the Recommendation, before the design of a new national side of euro coins is formally approved, the Member States are to inform each other of the design, including the edge letterings.

New designs are to be forwarded by the issuing Member State to the European Commission. The Commission will then inform the other Member States without delay via the relevant subcommittee of the Economic and Financial Committee. All relevant information on new national coin designs will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Applying the Recommendation to normal and commemorative coins

The common guidelines apply to national sides and edge letterings of euro circulation coins. They apply to both normal and commemorative euro coins issued after the adoption of this Recommendation (on 3 June 2005).

The Recommendation is addressed to all the Member States participating in the euro as referred to in Article 1 of Regulation (EC) No 974/98.

The common guidelines also apply to the monetary agreements which the Community has signed with the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State. Under the agreements, those countries are allowed to issue certain quantities of euro coins for circulation.

Extending the euro zone

Following the enlargements of the European Union in May 2004 and in January 2007 (to 27 Member States), several of the new Member States have started to prepare themselves for adoption of the euro. These preparations include the selection of the national sides of their future euro coins.

 

EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union

EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 7 May 2008 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Central Bank : EMU@10 – successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union [COM(2008) 238 final – Non published in the Official Journal].

Synthesis

At the end of its first decade, the euro is a success story and represents the most tangible result of European integration. Low and stable inflation and interest rates over the past ten years have boosted investment in the euro area. Fiscal consolidation has continued and job creation has been at record levels. However, output and productivity growth have been lower than in other developed economies, and concerns about income distribution have grown. In the future, EMU faces challenges linked to ongoing globalisation, an ageing population, rising food and energy costs and the effects of climate change. .

Ten years of monetary and economic stability and integration

EMU has fostered economic and market integration by removing exchange rate risks and lowering cross-border transaction costs, helping to develop the single market and integrate product markets. Establishing itself as the world’s second currency after the US dollar, the euro is a powerful catalyst for financial market integration. The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) will eliminate differences between national and cross-border retail payments.

A record 16 million jobs were created during the first decade of EMU, while unemployment fell to around 7 %, the lowest in more than fifteen years. In addition, EMU has brought significant benefits to European Union Member States engaged in a catch-up process, by providing an environment of macroeconomic stability and low interest rates coupled with the support of the Cohesion Policy and Structural Funds.

A single monetary policy, conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB), combined with national yet coordinated fiscal policies ensures macroeconomic stability. Currency fluctuation and exchange rate realignments within the euro area have become a thing of the past. Furthermore, monetary policy has cemented long-run inflation expectations: inflation averaged around 2 % in the first decade of EMU, falling from 3 % in the 1990s and 8 to 10 % in the 1970s and 1980s. This has contributed to improving the euro area’s resilience against adverse external developments.

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) improved budgetary discipline and the euro-area economy has pursued a faster track of economic and financial integration than the rest of the EU. Supporting macroeconomic stability, fiscal consolidation has been impressive over the past years and has culminated in a deficit of only 0.6 % of GDP in 2007 compared to an average of around 4 % in both the 1980s and 1990s.

EMU’s remaining challenges, amplified by new global trends

Although the first decade of EMU has been a positive picture overall, there are still unfulfilled expectations and remaining challenges, such as globalisation, rising food and energy prices and the ageing population. At around 2 % per annum; potential growth remains too low and there are still substantial differences across countries in terms of inflation and labour costs. At the international level, a clear strategy is needed so that the euro area can project a strong voice in international economic fora in an increasingly globalised world. Finally, the public image of the euro does not fully reflect EMU’s successful economic performance. In some countries, citizens believe that prices have increased significantly because of the euro. Indeed, even if overall inflation was only marginally affected at the time of the changeover, occasional abusive price increases in specific sectors and countries have tarnished the image of the single currency.

To address the challenges for the next decade, it is necessary to build on existing macroeconomic stability while raising potential growth and furthering the welfare of euro-area citizens, ensuring a smooth adjustment capacity as EMU expands to take on new members and protecting successfully the interests of the euro area in the global economy. To do this, the Commission has outlined a three-pillar agenda:

  • Domestic: deepening and broadening macroeconomic surveillance and better integrating structural policies into the overall policy co-ordination process within EMU;
  • External: enhancing the euro area’s role in global economic governance by developing common positions on international issues and by consolidating representation, with the ultimate objective of a single seat for the euro area in the relevant international financial institutions and fora;
  • Promoting effective governance of EMU: putting into practice both agendas requires a more effective system of economic governance.

Background

In May 1998, the Council took the decision to move to the third and final phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and to introduce the single currency, the euro. Used since 1 January 1999 as book money, euro banknotes and coins were introduced on 1 January 2002 in 12 Member States. At present, 17 out of 27 are part of the euro area.

Impact on capital markets

Impact on capital markets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Impact on capital markets

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Internal market > Single market for capital

Impact on capital markets

Document or Iniciative

Commission communication of 2 July 1997 on the impact of the introduction of the euro on capital markets [COM (97) 337 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In order to derive maximum benefit from the introduction of the euro, it is desirable to attain a degree of harmonisation of future euro markets by defining common characteristics that will apply to the financial markets of all the countries in the euro area.

Bond markets

Under the reference scenario adopted in Madrid, all new tradable public debt will be issued in euros as from 1 January 1999. In addition to this requirement, most issuers are now considering redenominating into euros their outstanding debt: this operation will have the advantage of generating euro liquidity in government bond markets and of enhancing the credibility of the governments’ commitment to the economic and monetary union (EMU) process.

The best method of redenominating the debt would appear to be the “bottom-up” approach:

  • individual securities are converted to euros using the fixed conversion rates;
  • the result is rounded up to the nearest cent;
  • the sum of all individual securities is then calculated and matched against the total held at the central depository.

The operation is neutral at all stages and the only potential differences for operators lie in the rounding arrangements.

Greater harmonisation of market conventions towards best practice is worth pursuing because it will increase transparency and avoid disputes. Harmonisation would concern the following points:

  • conventions governing the number of days used to calculate the accrual of interest: modern calculation systems enable the most accurate convention (exact number of days/exact number of days) to be adopted;
  • coupon frequency: the possibility of choosing between various options should be kept open. Semi-annual coupons reduce credit risk and are the norm in the US and Japanese markets, whereas annual coupons are the norm in the EU (except in Italy and the United Kingdom) and are cheaper for issuers;
  • business days: a standard definition could be to consider a business day as any day when TARGET is open for business (only Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are holidays);
  • settlement basis:
    – the most common method (“spot standard with a two-day settlement period”) would be a suitable standard to harmonise on for euro-money market transactions;
    – on bond markets, the settlement standard is currently trade date plus three business days: this standard could be maintained in the short term and a move made to a shorter settlement period in the longer term.

Equity markets

As regards the changeover to the euro, the main European stock exchanges have announced their intention to pursue a Big Bang approach: as from 4 January 1999 exchanges will trade and quote all securities in euros. Intermediaries will have to make the necessary conversion in order to account to their clients in the currency chosen by the latter.

The decision to redenominate shares is a company decision independent from the decision of the stock exchanges to trade in euros. The denomination of share capital should not affect its economic value: accordingly, redenomination can take place at any time during the transitional period, in other words from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2001.

The recommended solution is that of Non Par Value shares (NPV). Since each share is a fraction of the capital stock, there is no need for a physical exchange of share certificates. However, in many Member States the national legislation allowing NPV shares has not yet been put in place.

In general, there is not much of a case for harmonising market conventions in equity markets.

As regards historical series and stock market indices, the changeover should not give rise to any particular problems.

Derivatives markets

The transitional issues relevant to the derivatives markets mirror those of the underlying markets to which they relate. Accordingly, the same types of solution are recommended.

Other market features

Price sources. It is important to ensure the continuity of price sources. Prices calculated on a national basis (PIBOR, LIBOR, etc.) and on a European basis (EURIBOR) can coexist. It is desirable for rates to be published for the whole of the euro area or for harmonised criteria to be available for calculating national sources. The bodies responsible for producing and publishing price sources should provide clear information on the prices that will be available between 1 January 1999 and 1 January 2002.

Issuing procedures for sovereign debt. There is concern in some quarters that the coexistence of national debt offices and the European Central Bank (ECB) debt on markets could confuse monetary policy signals. Informal coordination between sovereign issuers could help to prevent this happening.

Ratings: sovereign debt. There is a debate between those who contend that membership of the euro area could result in an adjustment for some sovereign credit ratings and those who believe that membership of EMU will strengthen the credibility of budget policy and that ratings will not be adjusted.
In any event, the cost of raising debt for an individual country is unlikely to be changed significantly by a small adjustment in its credit rating, given the importance of other factors such as liquidity and the efficiency of the country’s primary dealer system.

Ratings: corporate debt. The European Union (EU) will probably be rated AAA and thus corporate borrowers will no longer be potentially capped by the credit rating of the country in which they are located. Broadly, EMU should have a positive effect on corporate ratings.

Repos. Market participants are keen to avoid the overly aggressive use of initial margin (the amount that has to be deposited before entering into a margining transaction)/haircut (the value of a security as collateral) in the official repo market as this would be an unnecessary restriction on the development of the market.
In addition, the use of variation margins (the amount that has to be deposited by the borrower to ensure that the counterparties remain fully collateralised throughout the term of a transaction) is far more efficient because it is based on symmetric daily marking-to-market of the collateral.

Markets need certainty that no volatility can occur at the end of the process because they would not be able to hedge. Investor protection is considered as one of the key factors of an efficient financial market and is crucial in determining the international attractiveness of the markets.

The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

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Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

The impact on Community policies, institutions and legislation

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 5 November 1997: The impact of the changeover to the euro on Community policies, institutions and legislation [COM (97) 560 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

EXCHANGE RISK

At the time the communication was drawn up, the budget was cast in ecus but both revenue (resources) and expenditure are wholly or partly realised on the basis of national currency values.

  • On the revenue side, the contributions are paid by the Member States in national currency;
  • On the expenditure side, the appropriations are generally committed and paid in ecus, with the exception of the payment obligations under the Guarantee Section of the EAGGF and the administrative budget.

Operations carried out in national currency result in the Community budget having to bear the exchange risk, since the exchange value in ecus can fluctuate.

With the introduction of the euro, the participating Member States will have their currency in common with the Community budget. This will have the effect of completely removing the exchange risk for operations still carried out in national currency. However, as far as the “pre-in” countries (Denmark, the United Kingdom and Sweden) are concerned, the exchange risk would persist for this type of operation.

AGRICULTURAL POLICY

The agri-monetary regime will be affected in different ways by the introduction of the euro:

  • For the participating countries, it will no longer be necessary to convert amounts (the Community will reimburse in euros any expenditure made in euros by the Member State concerned); however, there remains a difference between the rates used in the agri-monetary regime and the fixed and irrevocable conversion rates. This situation will have to be rectified in a manner still to be determined.
  • For the “pre-in” countries, there will still be a need for a conversion rate, but the system could be adjusted.

Adjustments to the agri-monetary regime will also apply to the fisheries sector.

EUROPEAN ADMINISTRATION

Administrative expenditure represents 3.5% of the total budget (1996 figures), consisting primarily of pensions and salaries, which are paid in national currency (mainly Belgian and Luxembourg francs).

The introduction of the euro will eliminate the exchange risk for the Community budget as regards all salaries and pensions paid to persons resident in participating Member States.

Given the political significance of the remuneration of Community staff, it is proposed that pay slips be expressed in euros and that salaries and pensions be paid in euros in the participating countries as from 1 January 1999.

COMMUNITY LAW

The most immediate consequence of the transition to the euro for Community legislation is that the ecu will be replaced by the euro (at a rate of 1:1) without any action needing to be taken at either Community or national level.

To cater for cases where the common figure in ecus is accompanied by a clause governing conversion to the respective national currencies, the Commission has drawn up certain guidelines in order to ensure consistency in the interpretation of such clauses.

Certain legal clauses need to be dealt with individually, such as those which refer to specific interest rates (e.g. in the context of penalty clauses) that will no longer be available once the euro has been introduced.

As regards agreements with third countries, references to the ecu will automatically be converted to euros without any specific action having to be taken by any party. It would be advisable to run an information campaign for the benefit of the parties concerned in advance of 1 January 1999.

OTHER CONSEQUENCES

From the operational point of view, the transition will affect the following:

  • treasury management and financial management: the treasury department of the Commission will no longer have to purchase huge amounts of ecus on the currency markets and the management of accounts and of foreign currency transactions will be greatly simplified;
  • statistics: some of Eurostat’s statistical time series will be rescaled; new statistical aggregates will be produced for the euro area;
  • informatics: the “Euro/Year 2000” working group is dealing with the relevant issues in this field.

The changeover work to be carried out in the Community institutions will largely take place before 1 January 1999, in contrast to the changeover at national, regional and local level, where the adaptation work necessitated by the changeover will be spread over the entire length of the transitional period, and in a few instances will even be concentrated at the end of this period (1 January 2002).

Preparations for public administrations

Preparations for public administrations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Preparations for public administrations

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

Preparations for public administrations

Document or Iniciative

Commission working paper of 16 December 1997: Preparations for the changeover of public administrations to the euro [SEC (97) 2384 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

As regards the practical arrangements for the changeover of national public administrations, the scenario adopted at the Madrid European Council meeting provides that:

“The generalisation of the use of the euro for public sector operations will occur in all participating Member States at the latest when the euro banknotes and coins are fully introduced. The time frame will be laid down in Community legislation and might leave some freedom to individual Member States.”

Given the often considerable structural differences between Member States’ constitutions and legal systems, the Commission has refrained from proposing harmonised changeover measures for national public administrations, except for the two regulations which form the legal framework for the euro.

Under these arrangements, national administrations may offer private economic agents the option of using the euro unit for all their financial flows and communications with the State. In countries which intend to offer this option a provision usually stipulates that, once a company has chosen the euro unit before the end of the transitional period, it cannot revert to the national currency unit.

The preparations so far made for the changeover to the euro can be summarised as follows:

  • ten Member States have published a national changeover plan or, in one case, a comprehensive draft transition law;
  • a majority of Member States intends to give companies, and in many cases individuals, the option at least partially to communicate and to execute financial flows with public administrations either in the national currency unit or in the euro unit from January 1999 onwards;
  • the range of these “euro options” varies from one Member State to the other. They cover areas such as company accounting and reporting, the founding of companies with their capital in the euro unit, the redenomination of an existing company’s capital into the euro unit, or tax and social security declarations and payments;
  • Member States expecting to participate in 1999 intend to continue to operate internally (i.e. budgets and internal accounting) in the national currency unit until the end of the transitional period in December 2001. There is, however, a discernible trend towards the parallel publication of major government data in the euro unit;
  • depending on the individual structures of Member States, coordination with regional and local authorities has become an essential element of national changeover preparations.

The paper also contains a technical fact sheet for each country, giving an overview of the current state of the preparations carried out by public administrations.

Changes to the national sides of euro coins

Changes to the national sides of euro coins

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Changes to the national sides of euro coins

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

Changes to the national sides of euro coins

The Commission Recommendation lays down common rules for changes to the national obverse sides of euro coins. From 2004 onwards, Member States can issue two-euro commemorative coins to celebrate significant events or personalities. The moratorium for normal national sides is maintained until 2008.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Recommendation 2003/734/EC of 29 September 2003 on a common practice for changes to the design of national obverse sides of euro circulation coins.

Summary

This Recommendation, drawn up in close cooperation with the Member States, sets out a common framework for changes to the design of the national sides of euro circulation coins. It covers both normal and commemorative euro coins.

No changes to the national side of euro coins until the end of 2008

The Commission recommends that the national sides of normal euro coins intended for circulation should not be modified before the end of 2008, except in the event of a change in the head of state depicted on a coin.

In a communication of 28 December 2006 entitled “Five years of euro banknotes and coins” [PDF] the Commission reaffirmed the visual coherence of the euro.

Issue of commemorative coins authorised from 2004

On 23 November 1998 the Council decided that “there should be a moratorium on issues of commemorative coins intended for circulation in the early years of the new notes and coins”. The Commission recommended that the issue of commemorative coins should be authorised from 2004. The Council meeting of 8 December 2003 welcomed the Commission Recommendation (see “Related acts”).

From 2004, therefore, Member States may issue commemorative euro coins for circulation and these are legal tender in all the Member States of the euro area. The issue of these coins is subject to certain conditions:

  • Only the national side may be modified.
  • The number of issues is limited to one per Member State per year.
  • The two-euro coin is the sole denomination that may be used for such commemorative issues.
  • The total number of coins put into circulation must not exceed the higher of the following ceilings:

– 0.1 % of the total number of two-euro coins brought into circulation by all the Member States in the euro area; this ceiling may be raised to 2 % if a highly symbolic event is commemorated, in which case the issuer should refrain from launching another similar commemorative coin issue for a period of four years;

– 5.0 % of the total number of two-euro coins brought into circulation by the issuing State.

The design of the national side of commemorative coins is subject to the following conditions in particular:

  • The national side should bear twelve stars surrounding the design.
  • The year must be indicated.

The Commission should be informed about intended changes at least six months before the coins are issued. The Economic and Financial Committee must approve all issues of commemorative circulation coins having an envisaged issuing volume exceeding the 0.1 % referred to above. All relevant information on new designs will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Applying common practice under monetary agreements

The Community has signed monetary agreements with the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State. Under the agreements, those countries are allowed to issue certain quantities of euro coins for circulation. The common practice should therefore also apply to coins issued by those countries.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Commission Recommendation 2003/734/EC 1.1.2004 OJ L 264, 15.10.2003

Related Acts

Conclusions of the Council meeting on general affairs and external relations on 8 December 2003 [Not published in the Official Journal].
In its conclusions the Council welcomes the Commission’s recommendations, presented on 29 September 2003. The Council agreed to the following:

  • the Member States should not change the national side of their euro circulation coins until the end of 2008, except where the head of state depicted on a coin changes;
  • the moratorium on issuing commemorative circulation coins should be lifted. That moratorium was introduced by the Council meeting on economic and financial affairs (the Ecofin Council) on 23 November 1998. Thus, from 2004 the Member States may issue commemorative two- euro coins subject to certain conditions, such as the issuing volume.

Commemorative coins in chronological order:

Greece – Olympic Games in Athens 2004 [Official Journal C 91 of 15.4.2004].

  • Design: Ancient statue depicting a discobulus about to throw the discus and the five Olympic rings.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 50 million coins.

Finland – Enlargement of the European Union by ten new Member States [Official Journal C 243 of 30.9.2004].

  • Design: Stylised pillar with shoots growing upwards.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of one million coins.

Luxembourg – Grand Duke Henri [Official Journal C 243 of 30.9.2004].

  • Design: Effigy and monogram of Grand Duke Henri.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 2.49 million coins.

Republic of San Marino – Bartolomeo Borghesi [Official Journal C 298 of 3.12.2004]

  • Design: Bust of Bartolomeo Borghesi (historian and numismatist).
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 110 000 coins.

Italy – Fifth decade of the World Food Programme [Official Journal C 313 of 18.12.2004]

  • Design: A globe bearing the inscription “WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME”, from which emerges an ear of maize, an ear of rice and an ear of wheat, representing the world’s basic sources of nourishment.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 16 million coins.

Vatican City State – 75th anniversary of the founding of the Vatican City State [Official Journal C 321 of 28.12.2004]

  • Design: A schematic representation of the perimeter walls of the Vatican City with St Peter’s Basilica in the foreground.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 100 000 coins.

Luxembourg – 50th birthday of Grand Duke Henri, 5th anniversary of his accession to the throne and 100 years of the death of Grand Duke Adolphe [Official Journal C 11 of 15.1.2005]

  • Design: Effigies of Grand Duke Henri and former Grand Duke Adolphe.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 2.8 million coins.

Belgium – Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union [Official Journal C 61 of 11.3.2005]

  • Design: Effigies of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and King Albert II of Belgium.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 6 million coins.

Austria – 50th anniversary of the Austrian State Treaty [Official Journal C 61 of 11.3.2005]

  • Design: A reproduction of the signatures and seals in the Austrian State Treaty.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 7 million coins.

Spain – 4th centenary of the first edition of “The Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” [Official Journal C 131 of 28.5.2005]

  • Design: Don Quixote holding a lance, with windmills in the background. The coin bears the word “ESPAÑA”.
  • Issuing volume: 8 million coins.

Republic of San Marino – 2005: World Year of Physics [Official Journal C 244 of 4.10.2005]

  • Design: Free interpretation of the allegorical painting known as “La fisica antica” or the study of the planets, depicting Galileo Galilei. The twelve stars of the European Union are depicted on the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 130 000 coins.

Finland – 60th anniversary of the United Nations and 50th anniversary of Finland’s membership of the United Nations [Official Journal C 244 of 4.10.2005]

  • Design: The inner part of the coin depicts a dove of peace formed of pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The twelve stars of the European Union are depicted on the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 2 million coins.

Italy – 1st anniversary of the signing of the European Constitution [Official Journal C 283 of 16.11.2005]

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of Europa and the bull. Europa holds a pen and the text of the European Constitution. The words “COSTITUZIONE EUROPEA” form a semicircle on the lower part of the outer ring. The twelve stars appear on the upper part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 18 million coins.

Vatican City State – 20th World Youth Day held in Cologne in August 2005 [Official Journal C 283 of 16.11.2005]

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of Cologne cathedral with a comet in the upper part of the design. The words “XX GIORNATA MONDIALE DELLA GIOVENTÙ” form a semicircle. The twelve stars appear on the upper part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 100 000 coins.

Luxembourg – 25th birthday of the heir to the throne, Grand Duke Guillaume [Official Journal C 20 of 27.1.2006]

  • Design: the left-hand side of the inner part depicts the effigy of His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri looking to the right superimposed on the effigy of the hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, on the right-hand side of the inner part. The date 2006 appears below both effigies.
  • Issuing volume: 1.1 million coins.

Germany – Schleswig-Holstein [Official Journal C 33 of 9.2.2006].

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of the “Holstentor”, the landmark gate of the town of Lübeck. The twelve stars form a semicircle on the upper part of the outer ring, interrupted by the year of mintage “2006” at the top of the coin. The words “BUNDESREPUBLIK DEUTSCHLAND” form a semicircle on the lower part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 30 million coins.

Italy – XX Olympic Winter Games – Turin 2006 [Official Journal C 33 of 9.2.2006].

  • Design: the foreground shows a skier racing, against a background of stylised graphic elements: the monogram of the Italian Republic “RI” at the top left, below it the letter “R” and an image of Turin’s landmark Mole Antonelliana building. The twelve stars of the EU encircle the design.
  • Issuing volume: 40 million coins.

Belgium – Atomium [Official Journal C 53 of 3.3.2006].

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows a representation of the Atomium. Twelve stars surround the design on the outer ring of the coin. The monogram “B” appears at the top of the coin between two stars and the year of mintage “2006” at the bottom of the circle between two stars.
  • Issuing volume: 5 million coins.

Finland – 100th anniversary of universal and equal suffrage [Official Journal C 248 of 14.10.2006].

  • Design: The inner part of the coin shows faces. The twelve stars of the European flag are depicted on the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 2.5 million coins.

Republic of San Marino – 500th anniversary of the death of Christopher Columbus [Official Journal C 248 of 14.10.2006].

  • Design: A portrait of Christopher Columbus and a representation of the three Caravels; above the portrait the inscription “SAN MARINO” and the wind rose.
  • Issuing volume: 120 000 coins.

Vatican City State – 5th Centenary of the Pontifical Swiss Guard [Official Journal C 260 of 28.10.2006].

  • Design: The coin features a Swiss guard taking the solemn oath on the Swiss Guard flag.
  • Issuing volume: a maximum of 100 000 coins.

Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland – 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome [Official Journal C 65 of 21.3.2007].

  • Design: The centre of the coin shows the Treaty signed by the six founding Member States on a background evoking the paving, designed by Michelangelo, of the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome where the Treaty was signed on 25 March 1957. The translation of the word ‘Europe’ appears above the book.
  • Issuing volume: varies according to the Member States (from 0.4 million in Slovenia to 30 million in Germany)

Germany, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern [Official Journal C 76 of 4.4.2007].

  • Design: the inner part of the coin shows the Schwerin castle. The words ‘Meckenburg-Vorpommern’ appear underneath it. Twelve stars form a semi-circle on the upper part of the outer ring, intercalated by the vintage year ‘2007’ above the coin. The words ‘Bundesrepublik Deutschland’ form a half-circle on the lower part of the outer ring.
  • Issuing volume: 30 million coins.

Republic of San Marino – Bicentennial of the birth of Giuseppe Garibaldi [Official Journal C 233 of 5.10.2007].

  • Design: The inner circle of the coin features a portrait of Giuseppe Garibaldi. The inscription ‘SAN MARINO’ and the year mark ‘2007’ are engraved along the circle on the left and right hand sides respectively.
  • Issuing volume: 1 30 000 coins.

Monaco – 25th Anniversary of death of Princess Grace [Official Journal C 172 of 25.7.2007].

  • Design: On the inner part of the coin there is an effigy of Princess Grace in profile facing to the left. ‘MONACO’, followed by the mint mark, the year ‘2007’ and the engraver’s mark, is engraved in an arc in the bottom right of the inner part. The coin’s outer ring depicts the twelve stars of the European flag.
  • Issuing volume: maximum 20 001 coins.

Vatican City State – 80th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI [Official Journal C 233 of 5.10.2007].

  • The inner part of the coin features a bust of His Holiness Benedictus XVI in profile facing to the left.
  • Issuing volume: 100 000 coins.

Germany – Hamburg [Official Journal C 13 of 18.1.2008].

  • The inner part of the coin features St Michael’s church, Hamburg. The name of the federal State ‘HAMBURG’ is inscribed beneath the church.
  • Issuing volume: 30 million.

Information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU

Information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

Information and communication strategy on the euro and EMU

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of an information and communication strategy on the euro and the Economic and Monetary Union [COM(2004) 552 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Long before the introduction of the euro as the single currency on 1 January 2002, the Commission was aware of the importance of an information strategy on the euro. This communication outlines the strategy to be implemented two years after the introduction of the euro, in particular, with a view to:

  • the enlargement of the European Union on 1 May 2004 which will expand the euro area;
  • the need to consolidate the single currency by increasing public acceptance;
  • greater positive perception by third countries of the EU and its economic role.

Information and communication with European citizens

The information strategy on the euro is part of the “Information and Communication Strategy of the European Union” [COM (2002)350 – not published in the Official Journal] and its implementation [COM (2004) 196 – not published in the Official Journal. It is part the overall approach to Member States’ communication policy and it must add a tangible European dimension to the democratic debate in the Member States.

The aim is to increase public knowledge within and outside the EU on the working of EMU and to contribute to a smooth changeover in the Member States which adopt the euro. The Commission feels it will achieve its objectives by:

  • creating public awareness and understanding of the requirements for EMU to function, for example sound public finance and coordination of economic policies;
  • providing neutral and factual information that will enhance the citizens’ understanding of the euro;
  • contributing to a smooth changeover in the Member States which adopt the euro;
  • providing the media, economic agents and policy-makers in third countries with the information they need concerning EMU.

Role of the key players: Member States and European institutions

The Commission bases its communication strategy on decentralised activities involving the sources of information closest to the public. The information activities must reflect the culture, language and concerns of the citizens. The Commission feels that it is mainly for the Member States to define and carry out the activities because they are the best placed to create information tools and products and to encourage the regional and local authorities, public interest services and civil society networks to relay information.

The Commission’s role will consist of:

  • ensuring consistency of the messages;
  • stimulating and coordinating the communication activities of the Member States and civil society organisations;
  • proposing a range of information tools and implementing specific actions;
  • organising and supporting transnational communication initiatives and information activities in third countries;
  • managing its own centralised activities such as conferences, information products and public relations, regular assessments, etc…

The Commission, Member States and the European Central Bank (ECB) will coordinate their communication activities. Partnerships between the Commission and Member States, which are allocated a considerable part of the Community budget, can be concluded in one of three forms:

  • Strategic partnerships: the Member State and the Commission agree on the details of a communication programme and the division of tasks between the two partners. The two partners each pay the cost of the activities they undertake and thus, there is no direct financial link between the Commission and the Member State;
  • Management partnerships: the Member State manages the whole campaign on behalf of the Commission in accordance with the EU’s Financial Regulation;
  • Ad hoc partnerships: the Commission contributes to expenses incurred by the Member State.

Interinstitutional cooperation between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament will be organised by an interinstitutional group on information.

In order to facilitate the setting up of partnerships with the new Member States, the Commission makes provision in this Communication for dividing the latter into groups according to progress made towards EMU as assessed on the basis of the convergence reports. The adoption of the single currency by a country following accession implies that detailed conditions will be met, and the Commission will adapt its communication strategy to the timetable for the future introduction of the euro.

The European institutions and the new Member States must agree on objectives, communication strategies, target groups, messages, media, etc. as well as financial aspects and monitoring. The Commission makes provision for twinning programmes between the old and new Member States, the use of information relays, the organisation of conferences and seminars etc.

Meeting the public’s needs

Since 1 January 2002, the Commission has organised opinion polls on the introduction of euro coins and notes. The following conclusions emerged:

  • the euro area: four years after the introduction of euro coins and notes, European citizens are now largely at ease with their new currency. However, the Commission feels that additional efforts must be made to explain the architecture of EMU, the reasons why certain economic policies are necessary and the benefits deriving from the single currency;
  • Denmark and the United Kingdom: the two countries enjoy an “opt-out”. In these countries, the Commission bases its communication policy on the fact that it is for the national governments to decide whether or not to apply to adopt the euro;
  • Sweden: following the no vote in the referendum on the euro in September 2003, the Swedish Government is not planning any specific information activities. The Commission’s Representation in Sweden will provide brochures and practical information.
  • in the new Member States: the question of participation in the euro and EMU is directly linked to accession, and seen as a consequence. The Commission encourages the implementation of a communication strategy similar to the one adopted previously for the introduction of the euro. During the first phase, the changeover to the euro is placed in the broader context of the history of European integration. In the second phase, governments, banks and large undertakings will be encouraged to start preparing themselves quickly for the introduction of the single currency. In the last phase, information campaigns will become more intensive and larger-scale. They will target the general public and be adapted to the specific needs of different population groups e.g. the elderly, young people, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, etc. Opinion polls show that citizens have mixed feelings about the introduction of the euro in their countries. However, respondents are aware of the practical advantages of the euro but they wish to be more fully informed on the matter. Extensive information campaigns should overcome hesitations in connection with the euro.
  • Non-member countries: a survey [PDF ] conducted by the Commission via its delegations shows a growing awareness of the euro. The Commission is therefore basing its communication policy on the stability of EMU and the benefits of the euro and the use of the euro internationally, etc.

The Commission is aware that the general public needs up-to-date information. The communication strategy is both a multimedia and multidisciplinary instrument: publications on paper, leaflets, Internet, CD-ROM, local information tools (info-bus, exhibitions, information evenings etc.) conferences, seminars, television, radio, etc.

 

Euro banknotes: denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal

Euro banknotes: denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Euro banknotes: denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

Euro banknotes: denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal

Document or Iniciative

Decision of the European Central Bank of 20 March 2003 on the denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal of euro banknotes (ECB/2003/4).

Summary

In its Decision ECB/2003/4, the European Central Bank (ECB) establishes the rules on the technical specifications of euro banknotes. It also specifies the cases in which the reproduction of banknotes is authorised, and also the arrangements under which damaged banknotes can be exchanged.

This Decision only concerns euro banknotes. The rules on the technical specifications of euro coins are governed by Regulation (EC) No 975/98.

Denominations and technical characteristics of euro banknotes

The first series of euro banknotes comprises seven denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.

The technical characteristics of these banknotes are as follows:

5 euros

  • dimensions (mm): 120 x 62
  • colour: grey
  • design: classical

10 euros

  • dimensions (mm): 127 x 67
  • colour: red
  • design: romanesque

20 euros

  • dimensions (mm): 133 x 72
  • colour: blue
  • design: gothic

50 euros

  • dimensions (mm): 140 x 77
  • colour: orange
  • design: renaissance

100 euros

  • dimensions (mm): 147 x 82
  • colour: green
  • design: baroque and rococo

200 euros

  • dimensions (mm): 153 x 82
  • colour: yellow-brown
  • design: “iron and glass” architecture

500 euros

  • dimensions (mm): 160 x 82
  • colour: purple
  • design: modern 20th century architecture

The motifs on the reverse side of the banknotes are: the symbol of the EU, the name of the currency in the Roman and Greek alphabets and the initials of the ECB in their official language variants.

Reproduction of euro banknotes without risk of confusion to the public

The Decision authorises all or part of banknotes to be reproduced in certain cases, provided that there is no risk of the public mistaking the reproductions for genuine euro banknotes. The following are deemed lawful:

  • one-sided reproductions whose size is at least 125 % or at most 75 % of that of a genuine banknote;
  • two-sided reproductions whose size is at least 200 % or at most 50 % of that of a genuine banknote;
  • reproductions made of a material clearly different from the paper used for banknotes.

Reproductions which the public might mistake for genuine euro banknotes are prohibited. The Decision lays down strict criteria for intangible reproductions made available on websites, because paper printouts of those reproductions might be mistaken for genuine banknotes.

Exchange of mutilated or damaged euro banknotes

The national central banks (NCBs) exchange mutilated or damaged euro banknotes when more than half of the banknote is presented, or when half or less of the banknote is presented if the applicant can prove that the missing part has been destroyed. The exchange of mutilated or damaged banknotes is also subject to the following conditions:

  • where doubt exists as to the applicant’s legal title to the banknotes or as to their authenticity, the applicant must provide identification;
  • when ink-stained, contaminated or impregnated banknotes are presented, the applicant must provide a written explanation as to the kind of stain, contamination or impregnation;
  • when banknotes have been discoloured by an anti-theft device, they must be presented by a professional banknote-handling entity such as a credit institution or a bureau de change (Article 6(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1338/2001) and the entity must provide a written statement concerning the nature and cause of the invalidation;
  • when banknotes have been mutilated or damaged in bulk by an anti-theft device, they must be presented in sets of 100 euro banknotes, provided that the amount of banknotes presented is sufficient to form such sets.

Where NCBs know or have sufficient reason to believe that the euro banknotes have been intentionally mutilated or damaged, they must refuse to exchange the banknotes and must withhold them in order to avoid their return into circulation and prevent the applicant from presenting them to another NCB for exchange. The same applies where NCBs know or have sufficient reason to believe that a criminal offence has been committed. In that case, NCBs must present the banknotes in question to the competent authorities to initiate a criminal investigation (or to support an ongoing criminal investigation). Unless otherwise decided by the competent authorities, the banknotes will be returned to the applicant at the end of the investigation and can then be exchanged.

However, NCBs may exchange the banknotes if they consider that the applicants are bona fide or if the applicants can prove that they are bona fide. Banknotes which are mutilated or damaged to a minor degree, e.g. by having annotations or numbers placed on them will not be considered intentionally mutilated or damaged.

Withdrawal of euro banknotes

The Decision stipulates that the withdrawal of a euro banknote type or series will be regulated by a decision of the Governing Council published for general information in the Official Journal of the European Union and other media.

Replacement of previous Decisions

Decision ECB/2003/4 repeals the previous Decisions ECB/2001/7 and ECB/2001/14. References to Decisions ECB/1998/6, ECB/1999/2 and ECB/2001/14 are to be construed as references to Decision ECB/2003/4.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision ECB/2003/4

26.3.2003

OJ L 78, 25.3.2003

Related Acts

Guideline ECB/2003/5 of the European Central Bank of 20 March 2003 on the enforcement of measures to counter non-compliant reproductions of euro banknotes and on the exchange and withdrawal of euro banknotes [Official Journal L 78, 25.3.2003].

The Guideline specifies the measures applicable to non-compliant reproductions of euro banknotes and to the exchange and withdrawal of banknotes.

Decision of the European Central Bank of 16 September 2010 on the authenticity and fitness checking and recirculation of euro banknotes ECB/2010/14 [Official Journal L 267 of 9.10.2010].

This Decision species the rules which must be complied with by the professionals responsible for checking the quality of euro banknotes and their circulation. These rules are set by the European Central Bank. In particular, they relate to the machines to be used for the authentication and circulation of banknotes. Furthermore, only banknotes in a good condition may be placed in circulation. Suspect counterfeit banknotes must be returned to the national competent authorities.

Cross-border payments in euros

Cross-border payments in euros

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cross-border payments in euros

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for capital

Cross-border payments in euros

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on cross-border payments in the Community and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

This Regulation guarantees that national and cross-border payments made in the Community are subject to the same rules with regard to bank charges.

Scope

The payments concerned must not exceed EUR 50,000. They are to be made in euros or in the national currency of Member States wishing to apply the Regulation. Thus, following a request from Sweden, the principle of equality of charges also applies to payments made in Swedish kronor.

The Regulation shall not apply to payments made by payment service providers * for their own account or on behalf of other payment service providers. Furthermore, the Regulation shall not apply to currency conversion charges.

Equality of charges applicable to payments

Service providers shall levy identical charges for:

  • cross-border payments and electronically processed payment transactions where the payer’s payment service provider and the payee’s payment service provider are located in different States;
  • national payments and electronically processed payment transactions where the two service providers are located in the same State.

Facilitating the automation of payments

Payment service providers shall give each client an International Bank Account Number (IBAN). They shall also communicate their Bank Identifier Code (BIC). These codes shall be indicated by clients when making cross-border transactions. Failing this, the client may be subject to additional charges. Service providers must inform their clients of the amount of additional charges before a transaction takes place.

Compliance with regulatory obligations

Member States shall designate the competent authorities responsible for ensuring compliance with this Regulation.

If there is an infringement of the provisions by service providers, service users or any interested party may submit claims to national authorities. Member States shall establish out-of-court complaint and redress procedures. They shall designate or create competent bodies.

Member States shall lay down penalties to be applied in the event of infringement.

Cross-border cooperation

The competent authorities and the bodies responsible for out-of-court complaint and redress procedures shall expeditiously cooperate in solving cross-border disputes.

Context

Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 is repealed, as from 1 November 2009.

Key terms
  • Payment service providers: means in particular credit institutions, electronic money institutions, payment institutions, post office giro institutions, the European Central bank and national central banks, Member States or their regional and local authorities (when not acting in their capacity as public authorities).

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 924/2009

1.11.2009

OJ L 266 of 9.10.2009

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 10 September 2009 – Completing SEPA: A Roadmap for 2009-2012 [COM(2009) 471 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Roadmap presented by the Commission lays down the priorities for the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) for the period 2009-2010. These priorities concern Member States which have adopted the euro or are preparing to do so, as well as Sweden. These priorities should:

  • accelerate the migration of financial products and payment standards towards SEPA products;
  • increase the visibility of SEPA and its products;
  • complete the legal environment for SEPA and strengthen compliance of its standards with those of the European Payments Council;
  • ensure standardisation, interoperability and security of the processing of payments;
  • improve governance of SEPA, through the establishment of a new competent body at European level.

Communication 2002/C 165/08 from the Commission of 11 July 2002 pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal C 165 of 11.7.2002].
The Commission received notification on 28 June 2002 of the decision of the Swedish authorities to extend the application of the Regulation to the Swedish kronor.


Another Normative about Cross-border payments in euros

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Other

Cross-border payments in euros

This Regulation provides that the charges levied on payments in euros between bank accounts in different Member States must not be higher than those levied on payments in euros within a Member State. Transactions by debit card and withdrawals from ATMs are also covered by the Regulation.

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 December 2001 on cross-border payments in euro.

Summary

This Regulation is designed to put charges for cross-border payments in euros on the same footing as those for payments in that currency within a Member State. It sets a maximum amount of €50 000 and does not apply to cross-border payments between institutions for their own account.

Reducing costs and making cross-border payments easier for citizens

Cross-border payments comprise:

  • cross-border credit transfers: Transactions carried out by the originator via an institution in one Member State, in order to place a sum of money at the disposal of a beneficiary in the latter’s institution in another Member State (the originator and the beneficiary may be the same person);
  • cross-border electronic payment transactions: Cross-border funds transfers effected by an electronic payment method or cash withdrawals;
  • cross-border cheques: paper cheques.

An institution must make available to its customers in a readily comprehensible form, in writing and, where appropriate, by electronic means, prior information on the charges levied in respect of: cross-border payments, payments transacted within the Member State in which it is located and the exchange of currencies into and from euros.

Any change in the charges must be notified in advance of the date of application.

Facilitating cross-border transfers: IBAN number and BIC code

Institutions must notify customers on request of their International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and the institution’s Bank Identifier Code (BIC). In order to pay only the charges that apply to domestic transfers, customers are required to indicate the IBAN of the beneficiary and the BIC of the beneficiary’s institution.

Applying the Regulation to Member States outside the euro zone

This Regulation also applies to cross-border payments made in the currency of another Member State, once the latter has notified the Commission that it has decided to extend the Regulation’s application to its currency. To date, only the Swedish authorities have asked for the Regulation’s application to be extended to their currency, the Swedish krona. This means that cross-border payments within the European Union (EU) in Swedish kroner are covered by the Regulation in the same way as payments in euros. (For more information, please consult the document explaining the practical implications of Article 9 of the Regulation (pdf )).

This Regulation also applies to cross-border transfers to accounts in euros even if they have been opened in an EU country outside the euro zone, such as the United Kingdom.

References

Act Entry into force Transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001

31.12.2001

OJ L 344 of 28.12.2001

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2008 on cross-border payments in the Community [COM(2008) 640 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This proposed Regulation will replace the above Regulation, in order to realise an Internal Market for payment services in euro. Such an Internal Market will provide national and cross-border payments with the same rules and allow for more effective competition within the EU. The new Regulation will also improve consumer protection and establish the necessary legal framework to create an up-to-date and effective European level payment system.
The proposed amendments to the existing Regulation were derived, in particular, from the Commission’s report on its application (below). With the new Regulation, its scope will be extended so that:

  • national and cross-border direct debits will also be covered by the equality of charges principle, meaning that costs for these would be the same in each Member State;
  • the obligation for payment service providers to report on the statistics concerning the balance-of-payments (BoP) will be phased out.

In addition, Member States will be requested to appoint competent authorities and out-of-court redress bodies for ensuring that the new Regulation is applied correctly. These will also provide arbitration and mediation in payment-related disputes.
Co-decision procedure (2008/0194/COD)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 11 February 2008 on the application of Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 on cross-border payments in euro [COM(2008) 64 final – Official Journal C 207 of 14.8.2008].

This report examines the practical problems encountered in the application of Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001. It confirms that the Regulation has helped bring about a substantial reduction in the charges linked to cross-border transfers. Also, prompted by the Regulation, the financial services sector has taken the necessary action to realise the notion of an ‘internal payments area’ for non-cash payments, namely the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).
Nevertheless, the Commission notes in its report that the Member States should set up competent authorities and proper procedures to permit the amicable settlement of disputes between a bank and its client so as to protect consumers’ rights. In addition, the Regulation should be extended to cover direct debits, a payment method not yet available across borders. The Commission intends to submit a proposal for legislation in autumn 2008.

Communication from the Commission of 2 December 2003 concerning a New Legal Framework for Payments in the Internal Market (Consultative Document) [COM(2003) 718 final – Official Journal C 96 of 21.4.2004].
The purpose of this Communication is to consult interested parties on the general principles underpinning modernisation of the legal framework for retail payment services in the internal market. The consultation, which deals with a number of legal and technical issues, should enable the Commission to put forward appropriate proposals for a new legal framework for payments.

Communication from the Commission of 11 July 2002 pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council [Official Journal C 165 of 11.7.2002].

On 28 June 2002, the Commission received notification of the Swedish authorities’ decision to extend the application of the Regulation to the Swedish krona.