The European Union adopted amendments to Regulation No 924/2009 that will allow EU countries that are not members of the eurozone to benefit from the very low cross-border fees applying in the eurozone. The eurozone, also known as the euro area, is a monetary union of 19 EU countries which use the euro as their common currency. At present, people in the countries in the eurozone pay zero or very low bank transfer fees when making payments to other countries in the eurozone. The eurozone covers 360 million consumers, 16.3 million businesses, and 2.8 billion transactions a year.

The amendments of the Regulation No 924/2009 will become effective on the 15th of December 2019 and will make sure that payments within the entire European Union will be subject to no or low bank transfer fees. Thus, the new amendments will cover additional 150 million consumers, 6 million businesses, and extra 1.8 billion transactions per year. It is estimated that, as a result of the new amendments, consumers will save 1 billion euro per year. Mr

Valdis Dombrovskis, an EU Commissioner, summarized the new amendments as follows: “The law adopted by the European Parliament today will ensure that citizens and businesses in non-euro area countries will enjoy the same conditions as euro area residents when making cross-border payments in euro. This means that finally all Europeans will be able to do euro transfers across the EU at the same cost as they would pay for a domestic transaction.”

As a result of the changes, a cross-border payment transfers in euro (EUR) from Bulgaria will be subject to the same fees as the same payment transfer in Bulgarian lev (BGN). This is an important change as at present payment fees for simple transfers can be very high in EU countries that are not members of the eurozone. Such fees may even reach EUR 24 for a transfer of EUR 10. The new amendments will make Bulgaria, one of the newest members of the European Union, even more attractive for businesses because it will offer low payment fees in addition to low tax rates (both personal and corporate income tax rates are 10%) and affordable labor force.

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