On 9 January 2014, the European Commission published a proposed Regulation that would postpone the SEPA migration date by introducing an additional transitional period of six months. Under the proposed Regulation a grandfathering clause would allow banks and other payment service providers to process payments that would be non-compliant with SEPA until 1 August 2014.
On 14 January 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) received a request from the Council of the EU asking for its opinion on the proposed Regulation on the postponement of the SEPA migration date. The ECB has now published its opinion.
The ECB makes a number of points in its opinion including that the proposed Regulation has given rise to confusion in the markets on the deadline for migration and that there is an urgent need for clear guidance. A further concern is the lack of legal certainty in the event that the proposed Regulation is only adopted after the current deadline (i.e. 1 February 2014). However, the ECB believes that this concern would be partially addressed by the proposed retroactive application of the proposed Regulation (i.e. as of 31 January 2014).
The European Parliament is due to consider the proposed Regulation in its plenary session to be held from 3 to 6 February 2014.