Plans to make cross-border payments in euro cheaper across the entire European Union were tabled by the European Commission on March 28.
Under current rules, there is no difference for euro area residents or businesses if they carry out euro transactions in their own country or with another euro area member state. But Brussels now wants to extend this benefit to people and businesses in non-euro countries.
According to a European Commission press release, this will allow all consumers and businesses to fully reap the benefits of the Single Market when they send money, withdraw cash or pay abroad.
“With today’s proposal we are granting citizens and businesses in non-euro area countries the same conditions as euro area residents when making cross-border payments in euro,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. “All Europeans will be able to transfer money cross-border, in euro, at the same cost as they would pay for a domestic transaction.”
Specifically, the European Commission proposed that fees charged for cross-border payments in euro are the same that would be charged for equivalent domestic payments in the local currency. This will bring down fees to a few euro or even cents.
The proposal, which is based on public consultations in October 2017, will be submitted to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.
The proposal was welcomed by the European People’s Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament. “EU cross-border payments should be like domestic payments,” said Burkhard Balz MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Economic and Monetary Affairs. “There should be no borders, additional payments or extra hassle when you pay or receive euros within the EU, even if you are in a non-euro zone country. The EPP Group will vote in favour of this.”