Some of the European Union’s strongest economies backed the private sector’s proposal for the acceleration of the internal market of payments within the bloc on Tuesday, bringing that prospect closer.
In a joint declaration, the governments of Germany, France, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Finland offered their support to the European Payments Initiative (EPI). They spoke of a genuine “Europe of payments,” a single, open market for electronic payments without any distinctions between domestic and cross-border payment and “without any needless barriers.”
A move in that direction, the declaration noted, “is a matter of strategic autonomy in a vital market,” securing control over sensitive data on payments by European citizens.
Therefore the softening of payment borders within the 27-member bloc would not only spare those making international payments within the EU from additional charges and commissions, but it would also help European authorities retain control of the flow of sensitive data accompanying payments, so that they are not monitored by third countries, companies or other entities.
Germany’s Deputy Finance Minister Jorg Kukies spoke of an “upgrade to the digital potential of Europe” in the sector. He said, “Our common objective is the supply of world-class digital payment services that will be innovative, secure and accessible.”
European solutions in that field, Kukies stressed, are “the key to European sovereignty.” EPI “has the prospect of facilitating payments in Europe, increasing its competitiveness and strengthening our internal market.”
As the joint declaration noted, the EU payment agencies remain fragmented as there is no interoperability between various national systems and options.
At the same time, the seven governments declared that the EU market remains to a great extent dependent on solutions that non-European players supply, both at points of sale and on the internet, while needless levies continue to exist in the internal payments market.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting of the European Union ministers of economy and finance (ECOFIN), France presented a proposal with three plus two points for tackling the raging crisis in the energy markets. However, according to sources, there was no broad discussion on it.