What are European Affairs?
European Affairs are essentially public affairs dealing with the institutions of the European Union (e.g. European Parliament, Council, European Commission, …). By creating a constructive dialogue with legislators and regulators, the ABBL aims at representing the interest of the Luxembourg banking industry in the shaping of EU legislation while committing to the transparency and ethics standards of the European Union’s Transparency Register.
European Affairs involve a.o.:
- strategic assessment of purely EU matters (institutions, EU framework, Brexit, …),
- the relationship with the EU institutions and more generally networking,
- monitoring of the legislative process and most importantly,
- interest representation / advocacy.
To be noted that the latter is often a cooperation with colleagues among ABBL’s pool of experts but involves at higher political level as well the CEO and the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The ABBL’s EU Affairs team is based in Brussels.
Why engage with the EU institutions?
With the creation of the (European) Single Market, around 4/5th of financial services legislation in Luxembourg is currently decided by the EU institutions (European Parliament, Council and Commission) rather than exclusively at national level. Major developments in this area have been the 1999-2005 Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP), the EU’s legislative response to the 2008 financial crisis (including a.o. the launch of the Banking Union and the creation of the European Supervisory Authorities) as well as the current work on the Capital Markets Union.
The ABBL & ALFI EU Representative Office
The EU Representative Office has been created in September 2006 and the ABBL has been after the German, French and Italian banking associations only the fourth national association to do so. Many more have in the meantime followed suit.
From a single person office, the EU Representation has evolved to a three person undertaking including two professional lobbyists and a trainee.
The activities of the EU Representative Office include a.o.:
- Strategic assessment of purely EU matters (institutions, EU framework, Brexit, …)
- The relationship with the EU institutions and more generally networking
- Explaining who the ABBL is and what the activities of the Luxembourg banking industry are
- Contributions to the ABBL’s communication efforts a.o. via the EU agenda and regular articles in the ABBL’s spotlight
- Organisation of public relations events with the EU institutions
- Monitoring of the legislative process and passing on relevant information on a daily basis
- Interest representation / advocacy on a stand-alone basis or together with Luxembourg based colleagues
- Brexit and third country equivalence in general
- The proposed omnibus regulation reviewing a.o. the structure and the powers of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs)
- The proposed regulation aiming at creating a European Deposit Insurance Scheme
- Basel IV transposition into EU law
- Sustainable Finance
- MiFID review
- Review of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR)
- EU framework for covered bonds
- Cross-border distribution of investment funds in the EU
- Financial Transaction Tax
- Common (Consolidated) Corporate Tax Base
- Payments (SEPA and PSD 2 developments, …)
- Cyber security
- Free flow of data
More examples can be found in the EU Agenda.
Transparency and Ethics
Since the creation of the European Union’s Transparency Register in 2008, the ABBL has registered and committed to the European standards in matters of transparency and ethics regarding interest representation. The Association is proud to have been among the very first to do so. Before that and up to this day the ABBL’s regular individual representatives have been registered with the European Parliament’s accreditation register.
The Transparency Register is based on an Inter-institutional Agreement between the European Parliament and the Commission. This IIA is currently under re-negotiation to among others include the Council and strengthen its transparency requirements.
The ABBL is also subject to the internal transparency requirements of the individual EU institutions, which include publication of meetings with EU Commissioners, their cabinets and director generals.
The ABBL also applies the European Union’s Code of Conduct regarding interest representation.