Brian Hayes MEP

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New EU Rules could force extra security procedures on every online payment over €10 – Hayes

New EU Rules could force extra security procedures on every online payment over €10 – Hayes

Brian Hayes MEP today said that proposed EU rules are on the table which would force customers to input additional security authentication information for every online purchase over €10.

“An attempt is being made through secondary EU legislation to rewrite the rules on how payment service providers have to verify customer details when making online payments.

“The Payment Services Directive II, which was adopted by the European Parliament in October 2015, broadly sets the groundwork for how customers authenticate themselves for online purchases. The mandate was then passed onto the European Banking Authority to flesh out the precise technical details on how exactly customer authentication should work in practice. This legislative process entitled ‘Delegated Acts’ has become more and more common following the Lisbon Treaty but it essentially gives more of a role to Supervisory Authorities like the EBA to conjure major changes with so-called technical amendments.

“The problem here is that the EBA has proposed a completely disproportionate approach for online payments. It has proposed that customers should provide extra security authentication for every online purchase over €10. Additionally, for contactless payment at the point of sale, extra security authentication would be required for any purchase over €50 under the EBA proposals.

“MEPs and Member States were very clear when they adopted the Payment Services Directive that customer authentication should be based on ‘the level of risk involved in the service provided’ as set out in Article 98.

“We all want the best security when we make online payments or payments at the point of sale. Fraud is a major challenge and we cannot allow for fraudsters to easily access customers financial information. But applying these harsh thresholds through a one-size-fits-all approach is completely disproportionate. It would make online shopping a much more onerous task, especially for those who are not particularly tech-savvy.

“There needs to be a risk-based approach to customer authentication. Risk-based authentication is already used in many EU countries and has been very effective at reducing fraud. Payment service providers can use a system of risk profiling where a transaction can go through a number of checks such as: i) is this normal activity for the customer, ii) is this a regular device they are using; iii) is their location consistent with previous purchases?; iv) is this merchant susceptible to fraud? v) is this a normal transaction with the merchant? All of these checks must be completed before the transaction either goes to customer authentication procedure or is allowed to pass.

“The EBA’s proposal is currently being scrutinised by the European Parliament and Council. Most likely in the second half of 2017 this will come for a vote before both institutions.”

Supermarkets have role to play in reducing food waste says MEP Hayes

Supermarkets have role to play in reducing food waste says MEP Hayes

Changing the way we view out of date food products could drastically reduce the amount of food we bin in our households, said Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes today (Wednesday), and supermarkets need to change marketing practices to focus on selling better, not just selling more.

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“Every year, one third of food bought in supermarkets is thrown in the bin, costing households about €1000. As a nation we are binning one million tonnes of food every year – this is a hefty enough chunk of the 89 million tonnes of food wasted across Europe annually and shameful when we consider that 15% of our population has experienced food poverty at some point. This rises to 35% for those on low incomes.

“It has been estimated that all the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in Europe, the UK and the US.

“During the Christmas season, our wasteful habits are most evident. Denmark has managed to reduce its waste total by 25% over the past five years, by changing the way they look at out of date produce. Most major supermarket chains now offer food that is close to or just beyond its ‘Best Before’ or ‘Sell By’ dates, at a reduced price.

“A specialised Danish company has opened two shops in the Danish capital and is campaigning to raise awareness about its core message: that this food can still be good to eat. All of its products are donated by producers, import-export companies and supermarkets and sold at more or less half their normal price. Good news for the consumer as they are buying proper food for reduced prices – and the profits are donated to charity.

“The UK has also opened its first dedicated shop for ‘waste food’ near Leeds this year.

“Ireland’s challenge is to force, through improving our own habits, supermarkets to take on their share of social responsibility. Increasing the amount of end of life products for sale, donating these products to worthy charities, being transparent about where the excess food goes – all will go some distance towards changing how we view food and our consumption of it.”

Brexit to have knock on effect on Irish Development NGO sector – Hayes

Brexit to have knock on effect on Irish Development NGO sector – Hayes

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Wednesday) said that countries in the Developing World stand to be the biggest casualty when the UK leaves the European Union. The Fine Gael MEP who is a Member of the European Parliament’s Development Committee said that 15% of the entire European Development Fund (EDF) comes from the UK.

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“The loss of the UK means a direct loss to the EU Development Fund. The EU will be faced with either reducing the total size of the budget or increasing Member State contributions to make up for the loss.”

“The EDF is the European Union’s main instrument for providing aid to developing countries.   It is worth over €30 billion and supports the poorest countries in the world in areas such as health, education, humanitarian assistance and gender equality. It is a vital source of funding to these countries.”

“It should not be forgotten that the EUs Development budget is the biggest of any major economic block in the world. 50% of all development spending in the world comes from the EU and its Members States. We have made commitments on the Sustainable Development Goals and in setting the Climate Change targets which require ongoing commitments to the poorest regions of the world.”

“Irish development NGOs will especially be affected by Brexit. Irish NGOs are funded through a variety of ways. They receive EU funds, Irish Aid funds or increasingly via the UK – through the Department for International Development. A survey recently carried out by Dochas, the umbrella group for Irish NGOs, found that 42% of their members are already experiencing a negative impact from Brexit. This is mainly due to currency fluctuations.”

“In whatever deal is concluded with the British, we must make sure that development aid doesn’t lose out,” concluded MEP Hayes.

We cannot allow the EIB to fund the European arms industry – Hayes

We cannot allow the EIB to fund the European arms industry – Hayes

Brian Hayes MEP today (Monday) said that the European Commission should not be providing the EIB with unwanted powers to fund the EU defence industry through a new EU defence fund.

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“Right now in Europe, we are seeing a greater push for more military and defence spending to protect Europe from terrorist threats. We do need to address these threats. But we need a common approach that takes into account the views of all Member States, whether they are big or small, whether they are neutral or part of NATO.

“The Commission recently proposed an Action Plan for a European Defence Fund which would give powers to the EIB to finance projects for the European defence industry. This would effectively be giving the EIB powers that it does not want and may conflict with its mandate of ethical lending.

“I believe the government should be firm in rejecting any proposal for the EIB to fund the EU arms industry; I don’t believe this is in the best interest of Ireland and may not respect the wishes of several Member States.

“The EIB’s role is about providing growth and employment to Europe. It would be perverse to allow a lending bank whose focus is on sustainable development to bolster the European arms industry.

“Nowadays we are facing constant calls in the EU to bolster military spending. Today in Parliament there was a vote on a proposal for Member States to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP. Defence is a Member State prerogative; Member States should not be directed on how much funds are allocated to their defence budgets.”

Too little too late on EU ‘benefit tourism’ crackdown – Hayes

Too little too late on EU ‘benefit tourism’ crackdown – Hayes

EU citizens will now have to work at least 3 months in another Member State before being able to claim unemployment benefits

Brian Hayes MEP today said that proposals announced by the European Commission earlier this week to curb so-called ‘benefit tourism’ in the EU have come much too late and should have been announced before the Brexit referendum.

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“Benefit tourism was one of David Cameron’s main qualms in relation to EU freedom of movement. His constant message was that EU freedom of movement makes it too easy for migrants to come to Britain and claim benefits hassle-free.

“It was expected that the Commission would come forward just before the Brexit referendum with a proposal to crackdown benefit tourism and allow Member States to limit unemployment benefits for EU migrants. Unfortunately, the Commission dragged their feet this and effectively allowed Brexit campaigners to hijack the whole benefit tourism issue.

“However, the content of these new proposals is very positive. I believe the Commission has struck a good balance between stamping out abuse of benefit systems but equally in recognising that labour mobility is a good thing. A mobile workforce in Europe contributes to economic growth, bolsters youth employment and stimulates competitiveness in the jobs market.

“The key issue in these new rules is fairness. It is fair that EU citizens would have to work at least three months in another Member State before being able to claim unemployment benefits, as the new rules state. This is vital to stamp out abuses of different benefit systems.

“It is also sensible that people will receive unemployment benefits from where they work rather than where they live, as outlined under the new rules.

“The Irish government should welcome these proposals as I believe these rules make sense for EU migrants working in Ireland but they equally make sense for Irish migrants working in other EU countries.”

WiFi4EU Initiative

WIFi4EU is a new initiative that aims to provide free high quality wifi access in towns and villages across the EU by 2020.  The initial role out is expecting to begin in Summer 2017. I want to see the 4 Dublin Local Authorities take advantage of this initiative which will be a great benefit to Dublin communities.

Ireland’s Money Market Funds industry will remain intact following new EU reforms – Hayes

Ireland’s Money Market Funds industry will remain intact following new EU reforms – Hayes

Brian Hayes MEP for Dublin and lead negotiator for the EPP on the EU’s Money Market Funds (MMF) Regulation today (Thursday) welcomed the ECON Committee vote of approval on the final text of the new Regulation. MMFs are highly liquid short-term cash management instruments used mainly by corporations and governments seeking to diversify their portfolios. Ireland is the leading domicile of Money Market Funds in the EU.

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“The Money Market Funds Regulation has been one of the most contentious pieces of EU legislation in recent years. This outcome has taken over 3 years to achieve but the final agreement is a hugely important milestone for Irish funds.

“What is most important in the final agreement is that both sides of the Money Market Funds industry – Constant Net Asset Value funds (CNAV) and Variable Net Asset Value Funds (VNAV) – will continue into the future, albeit under stricter conditions.

“The Commission’s original proposals effectively put a ban on CNAV Money Market Funds by imposing a 3% capital buffer requirement, an impossibility for these funds to achieve while maintaining normal operations. This would have had a disastrous effect on the Irish funds industry, which has over €400 billion worth of CNAV domiciled funds.

“The final agreement has replaced current CNAV funds with two new types of funds – Public debt CNAVs and Low Volatility NAV funds. Additional safeguards such as strict daily and weekly liquidity requirements, diversification limits and escalation procedures will now be applied to these funds to ensure that they can cope with market shocks and potential run risk. There will also be increased transparency requirements where fund managers must give investors weekly updates on the portfolio of their fund.

“The right balance has been achieved between addressing the systemic risk features of Money Market Funds but also ensuring that the essential features of CNAV funds can continue and be used by corporations and governments who depend on such funds to sustain their short-term financing needs.

“In Ireland, we have a thriving funds industry but unfortunately this has often been under threat by the EU’s heavy-handed fund regulation agenda. We cannot let large Member States set the agenda on key financial services files that exclusively suit their own interests.

“The outcome of the Money Market Funds Regulation shows that small Member States can really have a big influence on EU legislation. Due to significant Irish efforts in the European Council and the Parliament, we have managed to defend Irish interests successfully. But as we enter a post-Brexit environment these key financial services issues will become harder for Ireland to defend.”