On January 25, the ECON Committee held a structured dialogue with Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union. The last time McGuinness had a meeting with the ECON Committee was back in October in occasion of her hearings.
This time, in a more relaxed atmosphere, the Commissioner took the opportunity to thank the Committee for having concluded trilogues on the Capital Markets Recovery Package and encouraged to approve the Package in Plenary.
She then explained that the Commission’s main objective for 2021 is to ensure an open, strong and resilient economic and financial system, based on solid market infrastructures, which means completing the Banking Union and developing the Capital Markets Union. The Commission’s work on the Capital Markets Union will see a legislative proposal on an investment protection and facilitation framework for the EU and will also propose the creation of a single access point for investors for seamless access to financial and sustainability-related company information. The Commission also plans to review the rules on European Long-Term Investment Funds to support non-bank financing for SMEs and long-term investment in infrastructure. A proposal to review the MIFID II and MIFIR rules governing the market structure for securities trading in the EU following Brexit is also planned. Moreover, the European Deposit Insurance Scheme is seen as an essential part in completing the Banking Union.
McGuinness reminded MEPs that in December the Commission presented the strategy on Non-Performing Loans and urged to progress in the negotiations on the two legislative proposals on NPLs relating to Secondary Markets.
On Sustainable Finance, the Commissioner announced that the Commission will present a Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy, a review of the non-financial reporting directive, and present an EU Green Bond Standard. The institution will also work on the next steps for the EU Taxonomy.
On digital finance, McGuinness stressed the importance of ECON’s work on both legislative proposals on crypto-assets and operational resilience presented last autumn in order to have co-legislators to reach agreement as soon as possible.
Regarding anti-money laundering, the Commission will present ambitious proposals to reinforce the integrity of the financial system – proposing a single rulebook and a new EU AML Authority, with direct AML supervisory competence over the most-risky financial institutions.
Lastly, McGuinness announced that the EU and the UK agreed to reach a Memorandum of Understanding on Financial Services by March 2021 and that the framework envisaged would be similar to the one with the USA: a voluntary structure to compare regulatory initiatives, exchange views on international developments, and discuss equivalence-related issues.
The presentation was followed by questions by MEPs which addressed different issues, such as how to get rid of insolvency laws (Isabel Benjumea, EPP, Spain) to which McGuinness explained that different insolvencies across the EU are linked to the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), this is why progress in the RRF will help to make progress also in the CMU.
Other issues such as how to improve the CMU on philanthropy and the possible overlap on the draft legislative acts on the digital package were raised by MEPs.
By Sofia Badari