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10 December 2015

Speech by Commissioner Jonathan Hill at the launch of the Commission's Green Paper on Consumer Finance

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The Green Paper consultation issued by the EU Commission covers personal financial products such as bank accounts, loans, and insurance. It will help identify the barriers to the Single Market and work out the best solutions.

[...] Today, we don't have a real single market for financial services.Only three per cent of consumers have used bank services in another EU Member State. Only one per cent of loans in the euro area are made across borders. Credit card fees vary drastically between Member States, as does the cost of similar insurance products. [...]

Our goal is that consumers should be able to choose the right product at the right price for them and that businesses should be able to offer their services to customers wherever they are in Europe. [...]

We want a Single Market in finance for consumers to be of benefit to as many people as possible. Our focus therefore is on the vast majority of European citizens who don't move from their home country. But there will also be benefits for those who do move or are thinking about moving.

I hope that this Green Paper consultation we are launching today will help us identify the barriers to that Single Market and work out the best solutions. It covers the personal financial products that people use in their daily lives: bank accounts, loans, insurance. [...]

But if we can remove those and other barriers the effect could be far ranging. With more choice and competition, with our high standards of consumer protection, people would be able to choose a wider range of products in bank accounts, loans and insurance across the EU. [...]

Only 3 per cent of Europeans live in another country. But that makes 13 and a half million – still quite a lot of people. But they often find it hard to take products that are vital to their financial security, such as life or private health insurance, with them when they move. Having to start again can be very costly. It can be difficult to get a no claims bonus recognised in another country. And despite the Payments Accounts Directive we still have people coming to us with problems about keeping or opening a bank account when they've moved. So that's another area that we'll be looking at closely. [...]

This consultation is a first step. It will run for three months. [...]

Full speech

© European Commission

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