Over-Indebtedness in Europe. Defining Measures and Designing Policy Responses

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Monday, 15 September, 2008 - 08:45 to 12:00
CEPS - Centre for European Policy Studies 1 Place du Congrès / Congresplein 1000 Brussels

The provision of increasing amounts of new and innovative financial products as well as the expansion of access to credit and financial services is expected to prove beneficial to European consumers. However, the lack of financial education and literacy paired with insufficient information and advice may cause consumers to take unreasonable transaction decisions, potentially leading to financial difficulties and over-indebtedness.

The European Commission is committed to identify the most appropriate and effective policy responses to the problem. Substantive analysis, however, is still hampered by the lack of a common operational definition of the phenomenon at the European level. For that reason, the Commission issued the project "Towards a Common European Operational Definition of Over-Indebtedness" which was carried out the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) together with the Personal Finance Research Centre (PfRC) and the European Savings Institute (OEE) as administrative leader. After the recent publication of the study, the forum is now open for discussion. At this half-day seminar, insights from the survey were presented and both the implications of building such a common understanding of over-indebtedness in Europe as well as the necessary policy actions to be taken in order to tackle the problem of over-indebtedness and discussed were discussed with policy makers, industry officials and academics

The workshop consisted of two panels, each one of them followed by a short discussion session. Speakers of the first panel were Marc Rothemund from CEPS and Andrea Finney of the Personal Finance Research Institute of the University of Bristol. In the second panel, Jennifer Robertson from DG Markt and Antoine Saint-Denis from DG Empl presented the European Commission's policy action.

The event took place at CEPS premises on 15 September 2008, from 8.45 to 12.00.