ECON MEPs’ last chance to interrogate Commissioner Dombrovskis

ABBL Published 05.04.2019

On the 2nd of April 2019 the ECON Committee held the structured dialogue with Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis in his capacity as Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union. Mr Dombrovskis’ visit was the last occasion for MEPs, before the European Parliament elections, to have an exchange of views on the controversial and highly political financial services legislations that have characterised the Vice-President’s mandate.

Given the possible and imminent disruptive effects on the EU financial sector, especially in a no-deal scenario, Brexit was mentioned by ECON MEPs as the main issue of concern.

Despite the Vice-President’s attempts to reassure the Members on the preparedness of the EU financial sector, even in the case of the UK leaving the UE without the adoption of the Withdrawal Agreement, it looked clear that the Commission is not able to foresee and mitigate all the risks of a hard Brexit in the EU economy and its financial stability.

The Review of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), with its last-minute and intense trilogue meetings, has represented, especially in the last months, a political battlefield between the co-legislators aiming at a political agreement. The final text of the highly political file raised some questions on the possibility for Dombrovskis’ successor to reopen the supervisory dossier and the role of the national authorities foreseen by the proposal.

The Vice-President took the occasion to stress that the Commission aimed at a more ambitious approach in its proposal but, given that the final text has to be a political compromise, the EC is satisfied with the final result. On the possibility for a future re-negotiation on the ESAs, the Vice-President did not exclude that the next Commission “will work on the CMU, including supervision”.

Finally, on green finance, on top of the proposals on benchmarks, disclosure and taxonomy, two new topics of Sustainable Finance have been pushed forward by the Commission: the development of an EU Ecolabel for Financial Products and EU Green Bond Standards.

The Vice-President had the occasion to explain that the Commission is working on an EU Ecolabel for Retail Financial Products and, in terms of timetable, “the adoption of the Commission’s decision is planned for November 2020 for a first products group. According to the ongoing work, this first product group will cover investment funds and insurance based investment product”.

If the calendar for the extension of the EU Ecolabel for financial products looks pretty much clear, the same does not apply to the EU Green Bond Standards. Indeed the Commissioner informed his audience that the TEG has provided its first draft report and launched a call for a feedback. However, the next steps will be based on the TEG’s final report and the feedbacks received.

In his introductory remarks the Commission Vice-President stated that “Out of 13 CMU building blocks that the European Commission has proposed, as many as 11 have been agreed at EU level[1]. That sounds very much like closing a phase, but already now discussions inside the Commission are exploring what CMU 2.0 could look like. Indeed the next Commission (2019-2024) is expected to pick up where its predecessor left off.

[1] ESAs review, Supervision of central counterparties, SMEs growth markets, New approach to insolvency, New rules for investment firms, PEPP, EU investment fund market, Common rules to develop covered bonds, Crowdfunding platforms, Cross border payment Regulation and Sustainable Finance (Disclosure and Benchmarks) .

 

By Elona Morina, European Affairs, ABBL

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