SOCIALISTS AND DEMOCRATS WANT BANK SERVICES TO BE AVAILABLE TO ALL
As the European Union has not made sufficient progress in this area, the European Parliament called for the Commission to act, in a resolution adopted with a large majority and with the support of all the S&D MEPs.
It is estimated that 7% of the adult population, that is about 30 million people in Europe, do not have a bank account. Large discrepancies exist from one country to another.
"Having a bank account these days is just as indispensable as having a telephone", stressed Olle Ludvigsson, negotiator for the S&D Group.
"A bank account is indispensable in order to receive a salary, social allowances or to pay rent and bills. It can facilitate access to jobs, health care or accommodation for people living in disadvantaged circumstances.
"Too many citizens are still hesitant about approaching banks as the costs of accounts and the associated payment services are often very high.
"We insisted that banks offer basic services to citizens – payment cards, transfer facilities, withdrawals and payment orders free of charge or at a reasonable cost", explained the Euro MP.
"Getting accounts and bank services that are accessible to all is one of the battles we have been waging for many years", stated S&D Group spokesperson for consumer protection, Evelyne Gebhardt.
"Nowadays, it is unconceivable not to have a bank account. We cannot accept the current situation where people with very low incomes or homeless remain on the margins of society because they don't have a bank account.
"It is equally unacceptable that students face a vicious circle where they can't get a bank account, so they can't rent a flat, therefore they can't get a bank account", she added.
"This time the European Parliament has raised the stakes by asking the European Commission to legislate before the end of the year", said Mrs Gebhardt, who was also the author of the internal market committee report.