Every European citizen should have the right to open and run a basic bank account.
That was the conclusion of a vote in the European Parliament yesterday, supported by local Labour MEP Glenis Willmott.
Glenis said: “Over 30 million adults across the EU do not have access to a bank account. Some may choose not to do so, but far too often, for no apparent legal reason, people are being denied a basic payment account by banks.
“If you prevent people from having a bank account you are in effect excluding them from financial products and services, and most importantly, barring them from certain jobs which require access to a bank account. It creates an unnecessary social divide between those who hold bank accounts and those who don’t.
“The Report voted on today in Strasbourg calls for the European Commission to produce a legislative proposal by January 2013. Legislative approaches have had good results in those countries where they’ve been adopted. For example, close to 100 % of households in Finland and Denmark are covered by payment services while the number of citizens without bank accounts has dropped considerably in Belgium and France after the adoption of legislative proposals in those countries.