On 1 July at midnight, Austria took over the Council Presidency baton from their Bulgarian predecessors. Reading the newspapers one can get the impression that it is all about the highly political issue of migration. This is to forget that the new Presidency also has to deal with rather important and controversial issues in financial services legislation. With the summer hole at the beginning and the end of the year festive season at the end, time is short. Plus the end of the legislature of the European Parliament is approaching with MEP’s last plenary session scheduled for April 2019. Every agreement that is not rubberstamped at that moment will have to wait until after the new European Parliament and the new European Commission will have taken office. For practical purposes this means 2020.
Among the “rather important and controversial issues” mentioned above figures without the shadow of any doubt the risk reduction measures package i.e. the revision of the CRD, CRR BRRD and SRMR a.o. transposing the latest Basel rules into EU law. Successfully managing the interinstitutional negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council figures as the top priority for the Austrian Presidency in the financial services area. The trilogues on EMIR REFIT as well as on the Pan-European Personal Pension Product come second. The Council Presidency will also prepare the trilogue negotiations for the cross-border distribution of investment funds, another key issue for the Luxembourg financial centre, as well as for the cross-border payments legislative proposal.
On other proposals the Austrian Presidency will endeavour to reach substantial progress. This is the case for the highly political review of the European Supervisory Authorities and the ESRB but also for the long-standing proposal on a European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) intimately linked to the risk reduction measures of the above-mentioned RRM package and the more recent non-performing loans Commission proposals which fall into the same category. The Presidency also aims at “substantial progress” on EMIR CCP supervision, the investment firms supervision and covered bonds.
Given the above-mentioned parliamentary and Commission mandate deadlines, the Austrian Presidency is facing probably the most intensive months of the whole legislative cycle. Their whole experience will be needed to face the challenge.
By Antoine Kremer, ABBL & ALFI Head of European Affairs