In the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, the European Commission has for some time been deliberating about private debts. Under the title “Responsible Lending and Borrowing”, the Commission invited the public to contribute to this subject already back in 2009. In a debate, the European Parliament now concentrated on credit agreements relating to residential property. With widely divergent views as one could hear from the comments made by MEPs.
The rapporteur in charge in the European Parliament, the Socialist MEP Sánchez Presedo regards the growth in financial services and mortgage lending as the main factors, which had led to the crisis. This was also confirmed by studies carried out in Great Britain and the USA. However, the fault would not lie with consumers as figures from Spain would show: the rate auf defaults on the consumer side was at 2.5 %; with regard to construction companies, the default had been four times as much. The creation of financial bubbles had to be prevented. Consumers had to be protected, the economy had to be strengthened and a safe and secure network had to be created, were the little concrete proposals of the rapporteur. The principles of individual Member States should not be touched, nor should there be any questioning of legal provisions, which would exist in any case. However, there should be rules in respect of private debt as well as more transparency and flexibility.

MEP Alfredo Pallone, Speaker of the European People's Party for this Dossier demanded that the liberties of banks and persons should not be curtailed too much. However, providing pre-contractual information would be good, even if it had to be clarified what it should contain.

The Liberal MEP Dirk Sterckx remarked that many properties financed by mortgages, had lost in value – however, this would be different from region to region. The idea should not be to adopt texts, which would make it even more difficult to get a loan and young people should continue to have the opportunity of building for the future.

The Green MEP Sven Giegold emphasised that this issue had to take into account goals for the common good as well as individual goals. According to Giegold, macroeconomic problems could arise from variable interest rates; here better information had to be provided. The annual percentage rate should be evident. Also required were restrictions for extortionate interest rates. Foreign currency loans had in some cases led to a sudden rise in consumer debts. Some consumers had become insolvent because of this. Here too, regulations should be introduced.

In view of the different approaches from the individual parties, it remains to be seen what the report on credit agreements relating to residential property will look like and which demands it will contain. A draft report will be presented at the end of May; the vote on this report in the competent Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs has been planned for July.