Tuesday, October 11, 2005

ECB: Keeping up the momentum: achieving the SEPA objectives on time

On 3 October 2005, Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, gave a speech about how to achieve the SEPA objectives on time at the Off-site strategy meeting of the Coordination Committee of the European Payments Council in Durbuy. The first part of the speech comprised the ECB’s assessment of the status of the SEPA project today. The second part focused on the SEPA and the promotion of financial integration in the euro area.

Essentially, the ECB acknowledges that the previous idea that SEPA infrastructures would be completely migrated by 2010, is unrealistic:
I will therefore present the 2010 objective in a slightly different way than I did last year by acknowledging that SEPA for infrastructure will rather evolve gradually in the following three phases:

First, the adjustment of infrastructures by 2008 for the processing of SEPA payments in parallel to national payments (in this respect, it is important to focus specifically on how to ensure technical reachability for the pan-European direct debit scheme);

Second, the irreversible migration of a critical mass of national credit transfers, direct debits and cards to SEPA instruments by 2010 and the achievement of complete interoperability between SEPA-compliant infrastructures;

Third, and beyond 2010, I expect a reduction of the number of retail systems in operation in the euro area by means of competition and the phasing out of national instruments.