Nordic-Baltic Banking Groups Issue Pre-Election EU Wishlist

February 8, 2024
Banking associations in the Nordic and Baltic countries have set out their hopes for the EU’s next political mandate, including topics such as payment services and money laundering prevention.

Banking associations in the Nordic and Baltic countries have set out their hopes for the EU’s next political mandate, including topics such as payment services and money laundering prevention.

Banking associations representing members in countries such as Sweden, Lithuania and non-EU countries Iceland and Norway have issued a set of calls to action for the next EU mandate. 

In June, the European elections take place, after which the European Parliament and college of commissioners at the European Commission are likely to change. With this, new priorities will be set out. 

Financial crime emerges as a key topic for the groups, showing that it is likely to remain on the agenda at the European Commission and in the Parliament even after the passage of the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Regulation, which is due to happen before the election. 

For example, the banking associations suggest that the EU should raise awareness among its citizens concerning the fraud risks and modus operandi of criminal fraudsters. 

Further, they have called for close cooperation between national authorities and European entities to increase efficiency in the fight against fraud, saying that “new initiatives must ensure that all parties in the value chain used for fraudulent behaviour, including telecom companies and internet platforms, are obliged to put in place preventive measures and collaborate with other parties in the value chain”.

This echoes amendments made to the EU’s Payment Services Regulation (PSR) by the European Parliament, which looks set to push the final text to include accountability for social media firms and telecoms companies. 

Further, member states such as Lithuania have imposed stricter requirements on mobile operators with regard to fraud.

Payments and FIDA need more work

In their report, the group says that “further work on payments” is necessary. 

For example, the associations say that the new regulation, which is likely to be agreed by the next mandate as opposed to the current one, needs to balance efficiency and safety in the handling of payments. 

“Future regulation needs to be clear, not overlapping, and it would need to offer some kind of compensation possibilities for banks for sharing their own customer data,” the banking associations said. 

This echoes the feedback that lobby groups such as the Swedish Bankers Association and Finans Danmark submitted to the EU in 2023, following the release of the payment services package. 

Here, they called for the compensation model to be overhauled due to fintechs being able to access banking data without being charged. 

“New initiatives and regulations should take into consideration the already well functioning and existing markets.”

Similarly, another of the areas that the lobby groups have focused on is open finance. 

With the Financial Data Access (FIDA) legislation also likely to be negotiated during the next mandate, as opposed to being finalised in the coming months, open finance will be a key focus point for parliamentarians. 

The banking associations have said that a prerequisite for smart, new services for customers in the internal market is that data from other sectors is available to the financial sector on the same terms as other sectors can collect data from the financial sector.

Further, the groups have said that there are "crucial rights that need to be safeguarded in detail". 

For example, the protection of customer data and protection of financial services companies’ business models and sensitive business data. 

The groups have also called for cross-sectoral data sharing to apply to all sectors of the economy, not only the financial sector, to create a level playing field principle for the data economy.

"Liability and compensation models need to be designed in detail."

More clarity on digital euro 

The banking groups have also called on the next mandate to “clarify the consequences” of the digital euro. 

“The regulation must find a balance between defining the key characteristics of the digital euro and leaving enough room for the market to develop its distribution,” the report says. 

With this, the banking groups have said that “certainty and clarity” regarding the holding limits, as well as compensation for intermediaries, are also needed.

Furthermore, the representatives say that it is important to discuss the broader questions about the added value of the currency, how it can best respond to current and future challenges of the European payments market, and how it can be developed jointly with the market.

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