Consolidated version of SME financing report published – 29 June
A consolidated version of the ECON Committee draft report on SME financing in the context of the CMU has been published (for further details on the report itself, see FEE CMU Policy Update from February). The dossier is led by the Centre-Right MEP Othmar Karas (EPP/AUT). The now published consolidated version of the report is the compromise-result of a vote at the ECON Committee that took place on 21 June. A number of amendments were made to the report during the June ECON vote. For example, the report now expresses interest towards accounting standards for SMEs and looks forward to future “reflections” on this.
As a next and final step, the report will be voted on at the Plenary on 15 September. The report is non-legislative and commits neither the Commission or the Council to rake action. However, it establishes the European Parliament’s positions and thinking with regard to SME financing in the CMU context, and as such provides indications to the institution’s positioning on future CMU files.
Stakeholder Consultation to discuss the Single Market for Personal Pensions – 29 August
The MEP Brian Hayes (EPP/IRL) co-organised a consultation event in Dublin on 19 July regarding the Single Market for Personal Pensions. The event aimed to update the attendees on the current state-of-play of the Pensions Directive, and the implications for pension providers. The event was attended by a wide range of concerned stakeholders, including pension scheme trustees, pension fund managers, financial and legal advisors, and regulators. In terms of context, the European Commission launched recently a public consultation on the possibility of creating a EU framework for personal pensions (see FEE CMU Policy Update from July for further details on this initiative).
Green Paper on retail financial services – 25 August
The European Commission has replied to a question asked by the MEP Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE/NLD) with regard to the Commission Green Paper on retail financial services. In her question, Ms. in ‘t Veld focuses on the concept of “General Good” in the Commission Green Paper. General Good principles “enable national supervisors to ensure that insurance being offered in their jurisdiction is transparent and provides sufficient consumer protection”. She however states that certain companies blame some Member States for using the concept of General Good as a means of blocking new products in their markets. Ms. in ‘t Veld consequently asks the Commission whether it will clarify the application of the General Good provisions in Member States and give European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) greater coordinating powers in this regard; whether the Commission is interpreting the application of such provisions and challenging Member States in their interpretation; and whether the Commission estimates that cross-border business has been hindered due to such practices. In his reply, Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis states that the Commission did ask as part of its Green Paper whether clarification on the concept is further needed and is currently assessing the received comments. Moreover, the Commission will assess as part of the Green Paper whether “further action” is required to address Member States’ practices, but cannot monitor individual cases. It does however work together with stakeholders and the ESAs to identify problematic rules. Finally, the Commission has not received any evidence from the insurance sector that would demonstrate a prevention of cross-border business due to General Good rules. The Commission will, however, “make further inquiries” on the matter.
27/09/2016, Next steps on ESAs: funding and governance, Financial Future, Brussels.
08/11/2016, Cross-border distribution of funds, Financial Future, Brussels.
06/12/2016, Pan-European Personal Pension products, Financial Future, Brussels.
07/12/2016, FEE 30 years’ anniversary, Federation of European Accountants (FEE), Brussels.