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Albania applies to join SEPA

Jun 13, 2024, 3:02:00 PMArticle by Genta Hodo
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June 13 (SeeNews) - Albania's central bank said on Thursday it has submitted the country’s application to join the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) to the European Payments Council.

Albania applies to join SEPA
Photo: Central Bank of Albania

“SEPA payment schemes provide European citizens and businesses with cross-border payments in the common currency, at the same cost and with the same convenience as payments within their own country,” Bank of Albania said in a press release.

Joining SEPA is one of the priorities of the EU’s new growth plan targeting the Western Balkans. It is seen as a way to accelerate the region’s economic integration in the European single market before becoming part of the Union, significantly reducing the cost of transactions both within the region and with the EU.

"Participation in SEPA is estimated to have a significant contribution to strategic sectors such as tourism and to increasing flows related to foreign direct investment. The reduction of transfer costs in euro is expected to affect the formalization of remittance flows," the central bank noted.

Albania is the first country in the Western Balkans region to submit its application to join the SEPA, the central bank said.

All six countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia – agreed to align their regulations to the EU in March, in a bid to cut transaction costs, EU commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, said at the time.

In April, Bank of Albania said it approved a new regulation for credit transfers and direct debit in euro, aligning with standards set forth by the SEPA.

The EPC is a non-profit organization that standardizes payments in the SEPA. It comprises 77 members, all of whom are payment service providers (PSPs) or PSP partners.

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