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Key European mortgage directive vote delayed until next year

A key stage in voting through the European Commission’s mortgage directive has been delayed until next year against a backdrop of fears the regulation itself could be dropped as the eurozone crisis rages on.

The two committees scrutinising the directive were due to vote on amendments by December 19, but this has now been pushed back until an unspecified date early in 2012.

The European Parliament’s internal markets and consumer protection committee and economic and monetary affairs committee have published their reports on the directive and were due to vote through their amendments on November 22 and December 19 respectively.

But trade body the European Mortgage Federation’s latest Mortgage Info newsletter says that IMCO has been lobbying for extra time and successfully achieved an extension.

This has pushed back its vote to December 5 in Brussels. As a result ECON’s vote will be delayed until early 2012. It is understood that the reason for the delay is the sheer number of amendments to be tabled by the committees ­ some 800 from ECON and another 300 from IMCO.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at the Building Societies Association, says: “We do not want the amendments to be rushed, but this does mean the final vote through the European parliament will be later than planned.”

Meanwhile, MEP Sharon Bowles, chair of ECON, has warned that the eurozone crisis is threatening the directive’s existence.

Speaking at Mortgage Strategy’s Mortgage Masters conference in Buckinghamshire last week, she told delegates that in six months’ time neither the European Union nor the euro will exist.

When asked in Mortgage Strategy’s 60 Seconds With interview whether discussions about the directive seem like a sideshow now, Bowles replied: “It feels like moving deck chairs on the Titanic.”

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