EU-flash: Sustainable finance, Supervisory rules, ECOFIN meeting& Macro-Prudential Framework


The European Commission has decided to create a group of experts in charge of sustainable financing. On November 3, 2016, the ECB launched a new consultation about the harmonisation of supervision measures to be applied to banks lying outside the scope of its direct supervision. Later that week, a number of tax related matters were discussed at the ECOFIN meeting and a public hearing on the European macro-prudential regulation also took place.

Below you can find a brief summary of these topics.

Expert group to develop a European strategy on sustainable finance

On 28 October 2016, the European Commission decided to establish a High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on sustainable finance. The Commission’s goal is to develop an overarching and comprehensive EU strategy on sustainable finance as part of the Capital Markets Union. A call for expression of interest for the selection of experts was also launched on the same day.

The HLEG will be composed of up to 20 senior experts coming from civil society, the business community and other non-public sector institutions. Interested individuals are invited to submit their application by 25 November 2016. The selection of the group’s members will be carried out in November and the HLEG will start its work in January 2017.

The group will submit to the Commission a set of policy recommendations aimed at facilitating the flow of public and private capital towards sustainable investments, and minimising possible risks to the EU financial system due to its exposure to carbon intensive assets. A particular focus will be on environmental sustainability and, where relevant, social and governmental risks.

Full details.

Consultation on harmonising supervisory rules for banks

On 3 November 2016, the European Central Bank (ECB) launched a public consultation on a draft guideline and recommendation concerning the exercise of options and discretions (O&Ds) available in Union law for banks it does not directly supervise.

The consultation starts on 3 November and ends on 5 January.

The ECB will hold a public hearing as part of this consultation on 17 November 2016. Following the public consultation, the ECB will publish the comments received, together with a feedback statement and an assessment of the comments.

More can be found here and on the ECB’s Banking Supervision website.

Main results of the ECOFIN meeting

Access to beneficial ownership information

On 8 November 2016, the Council agreed on a proposal granting access for tax authorities to information held by authorities responsible for the prevention of money laundering.

The directive will require member states to enable access to information on the beneficial ownership of companies. The Council will adopt the directive once the European Parliament has given its opinion. It would apply as from 1 January 2018.

Full details.

EU VAT rules for cross-border transactions

The Council of the EU also published its Draft Council conclusions on Improvements to the current EU VAT rules for cross-border transactions on 8 November.

To read the full publication, click here.

Criteria for the screening of third country jurisdictions

Furthermore, the Council agreed on the criteria and the process for the establishment of an EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation matters.

It adopted conclusions on:

  • Criteria for the screening of third country jurisdictions;
  • Guidelines on the process for selecting and screening jurisdictions.

Screening is due to be completed by September 2017, so that the Council can endorse the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions by the end of 2017. Screening is intended to be a continuous and regular process.

More information.

Public hearing of the Review of the Macro-Prudential Framework

On 7 November, a public hearing of the Review of the EU Macro-Prudential Framework was held in Brussels.

Following subjects were discussed:

  • Key challenges of macro-prudential policy: How best to organise macro-prudential policy, and optimise its institutional structure?
  • Capital-based macro-prudential instruments: What type of policy tools are needed to address macro-prudential risks in the banking sector?
  • Extending macro-prudential measures: Is there a need for tools beyond those currently outlined in the EU level framework?

Vice President speech at the Public Hearing of the Review of the EU Macro-Prudential Framework.

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