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Parliamentary questions
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17 May 2018
Answer given by Vice-President Dombrovskis on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-001566/2018

The Commission is aware of the problem that a number of entities receiving payments, including tax authorities, energy providers, telecommunication operators and insurance companies do not respect Regulation 260/2012 (the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Regulation) and do not accept direct debits from payment accounts in other Member States.

It is the responsibility of the national competent authorities to tackle this practice often referred to as ‘International Bank Account Number (IBAN) discrimination’. However, some Member States had interpreted the SEPA Regulation in such a way that only payment services providers (i.e. primarily banks) have to comply with the regulation and that they do not have to enforce it with regard to entities receiving payments. As a consequence, some competent authorities designated by Member States did not have the necessary powers to tackle IBAN discrimination by entities receiving payments.

The Commission has raised this issue with Member States and payment services providers and users. It has followed up on complaints received from individual victims of IBAN discrimination to ensure that problems are solved. As a result of these efforts, all but three Member States now fully comply with the SEPA regulation and can deal with cases of IBAN discrimination also by entities receiving payments.

The Commission is now in bilateral contact with the remaining three Member States to empower their competent authorities to deal with all cases of IBAN discrimination.

The Commission has no information on the number of infringements dealt with by national competent authorities or on the penalties applied by them in accordance with Article 11 of the regulation.

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