On 27 June 2018, EU ambassadors agreed the Council’s negotiating stance on the Commission’s proposal to make cross-border payments in euros cheaper across the EU. They asked the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the Parliament is ready to negotiate.
“For a well-functioning single market, all consumers and businesses should have access to the same benefits when it comes to payments in euros. Today we agreed that a euro transfer should never be subject to a disproportionately high fee, whether or not the consumer is based in the euro area.”
Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council presidency
Since 2009, cross-border and national transactions in euros cost the same price in the euro-area. However, cross-border payments in euros from non-euro countries are subject to high fees.
The Council endorsed the Commission’s proposal to align the charges for cross-border payments in euros for services such as credit transfers, card payments or cash withdrawals with the charges for corresponding national payments of the same value in the national currency of the Member State where the payment service provider of the payment service user is located. This measure will extend the benefits of cheap cross-border euro transfers to an additional 150 million non-euro area consumers, and a potential extra 1,8 billion transactions per year.
In addition, the proposal revised by the Council increases transparency requirements on the costs of currency conversion when such a service is offered before a payment transaction is carried out. This is achieved by introducing an obligation to disclose the charges applied as the difference between the total amount of the transaction in the currency of the payer’s account and the amount resulting from the application of the latest available reference exchange rate of the European Central Bank.
Negotiations with the European Parliament can proceed as soon as the Parliament has agreed its stance.
A qualified majority is needed for adoption by the Council, in agreement with the European Parliament.