The new EU rules mean that a bank should charge no more to transfer Euros (with IBAN & BIC) between banks in two EU countries, than they would to transfer those Euros to/from a bank within their country.
So the charge made by the German bank to send Euros to the UK should be no more than it would be to send Euros within Germany - likely to be relatively cheap or free.
But since the currency in the UK is Sterling not the Euro - and that is the currency which is normally transferred within the UK -the EU regulation doesn't apply in the same way at the British end.
Costs for receiving Euro in a UK Sterling account will vary depending on the amount and the fees charged by the bank - sometimes free, sometimes a small amount, sometimes significant, so it remains something that needs to be thought about in advance. There is also the option of a UK Euro account, although whether this is worthwhile for the receiver to maintain would depend on their circumstances.
Astrid Johnson wrote:
This issue is a very sore point for me. In the middle of July I transferred some money to a British bank account. My German bank said it was part of the regulation that the transfer had to be made in Euros, for no charges to be due on the transfer to either party.
The British bank, however, charged the recipient heavily, stating that Euros were a foreign currency, and it would only not apply charges if the transfer were made in GB Pounds. I am quite certain that the British bank in question broke the law. However, when the recipient complained, they said that their own rules were more important than any European rules!
[Edited at 2004-02-06 00:29]