Pope Francis’ efforts to clean up Vatican finances rewarded by the EU

In a decision that is seen as a recognition of the Vatican’s achievements at financial transparency under Pope Francis, the Board of the European Payments Council “approved the extension of the geographical scope of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) to Vatican City State and the Holy See.”

Dec 07, 2018

By Gerard O’Connell
In a decision that is seen as a recognition of the Vatican’s achievements at financial transparency under Pope Francis, the Board of the European Payments Council “approved the extension of the geographical scope of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) to Vatican City State and the Holy See.”

The Vatican on Nov 30 announced the approval of its application to join SEPA, which is a payment-integration initiative of the European Union for simplification of bank transfers in the euro currency that came into effect in 2014.

The Vatican statement explained that “SEPA harmonises the way electronic euro payments are made across Europe. It allows European consumers, businesses and public administrations to make and receive credit transfers as well as direct debit under the same basic conditions and makes all cross-border payments in euro as easy as domestic payments.”

“The successful application to SEPA is a very positive sign. It helps to facilitate payments and harmonises such services. Furthermore, it demonstrates the Holy See’s efforts to enhance financial transparency,” according to René Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer, whom Pope Francis appointed as the president of the board of directors of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority, its anti-money laundering agency. He is the first layman to hold that position.

Ever since his election as Pope on March 13, 2013, Francis has sought, in accordance with the wishes of the cardinals who elected him, to reform the Roman Curia, starting with Vatican finances. --America Magazine

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