On first January 2019, Romania took on its first presidency of the Council since it joined the EU in 2007. And one must admit it is not an easy task that Romania is facing. Amongst other pressing issues, Romania has to deal with Brexit, the European Parliament elections, discussions on who will get the top jobs (President of the Commission, ECB, etc.), the strategy for the EU in the next political mandate (Sibiu summit in spring).
On top of this heavy agenda, Romanians have to deal with the interinstitutional pressure of handling the backlog of proposals of this current mandates (i.e. the five years term that the European Parliament and Commissioners are serving until the next elections). Indeed any proposal that will still be adopted under this current political mandate, has to be agreed upon at the latest during the first quarter of the year.
As regards to financial services, the strategy of the Romanian presidency is therefore to deal with proposals in trilogues (i.e. proposals for which the EP and the Council have both reached a position and which now need to be subject to an agreement from the three institutions) in the first quarter, and then spend the three remaining months of its presidency working on reaching agreements in Council on dossiers that are pending and will be adopted in the next term.
Dossiers which will be discussed in trilogues during the first quarter 2019 with the objective of closing them under the current Parliament:
- Sustainable finance – Transparency proposal
- Sustainable finance – Benchmark proposal
- Cross-border distribution of funds
- Covered bonds
- Investment firms review
- EMIR supervision
- Non performing loans (NPL)
Dossiers which will be dealt with at a second stage as still under negotiation in the Council with the objective of obtaining general approaches:
The Romanian presidency has a busy agenda and lots of expectations to meet from its peers and the other EU institutions. Some of the dossiers mentioned are very political and for some of them the position of the European Parliament and the Council do diverge substantially, and reaching compromise in such a short timeframe is going to be challenging for all actors involved. But given the short timeframe we will know quite soon what is achievable and what is not.
By Aurélie CASSOU, ABBL & ALFI Senior Adviser, European Affairs