Financial services & capital markets
“The overall assessment of the authorities and the ESRB (European Systemic Risk Board), possible changes to their goals, and the link with Banking Union… The public consultation on these issues will be open until July 19. I strongly encourage you to take part”. Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Public Hearing on Financial Supervision in the EU.
“I intend to present a proposal to improve the governance and transparency of occupational pension funds in the autumn. (...) This proposal will not cover the issue of solvency rules for pension funds”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
“Today you are being asked to give your opinion on a legislative package that is of major importance for Europe”. Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Plenary session of the European Parliament.
Commission meets key stakeholders of the banking sector in the context of its consultation on the Structural Reform of the Banking Sector
Today the European Commission is hosting a meeting on Bank Structural Reform, in which financial industry, key actors of the real economy and representatives of the civil society will participate. This meeting will provide an opportunity to hear the views of a wide range of stakeholders on the key issues relating to this subject, which includes the scope of the reform and policy options.
“This directive is a key text. Recent events have shown the urgent need to develop the tools necessary for a organised resolution of banks across the European Union”. Introductory remarks by Commissioner Barnier to the discussions on the proposal for a directive on bank resolution at the ECOFIN council.
The consultation is open to all stakeholders and will run until 19 July 2013. The results will provide important information on the effectiveness and efficiency of the European Supervisory Authorities and the European System of Financial Supervision as a whole.
“The financial crisis started with the subprime debacle in the United States. (...) We have seen similar excesses in Europe, for example with the housing booms and the inevitable busts which followed in Spain and Ireland. (...) This Directive will help put an end to these excesses and foster responsible lending practices“.
How science can help towards the creation of a banking union that will bring stability and growth to Europe
"Understanding complex phenomena, detecting failures, evaluating different forms of regulation, assessing the impact on the real economy: these four essential elements of scientific analysis are particularly relevant in the context of the creation of a banking union." Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the second conference on the role of science in financial stability in Bruges.
European Parliament’s approval of new European rules to impose stronger prudential requirements on banks
“This vote is a milestone since it consolidates the strides forward that we have made in creating a stronger banking system. We are setting up a body of unique rules, a Single Rulebook for all the banks in the single market with rules that are directly applicable in Member States without any possibility of regulatory arbitrage”. Statements by President Barroso and Commissioner Barnier.
The European Commission today presented a strategy on adaptation to climate change. In a related measure, it also adopted a Green Paper on insurance in the context of natural and man-made disasters. This public consultation launches a wide debate on the adequacy and availability of existing insurance options.
The European Commission has today adopted a Green Paper that launches a three-month public consultation on how to foster the supply of long-term financing and how to improve and diversify the system of financial intermediation for long-term investment in Europe. The financial crisis has affected the ability of the financial sector in Europe to channel savings to long-term investment. Responses to the consultation will help the Commission determine what can be done to overcome the barriers to long-term financing.
Stronger prudential requirements on banks: Statement by Commissioner Barnier following the agreement on the new rules
“I welcome the final agreement reached last night on a package that sets stronger prudential requirements for banks, requiring them to keep sufficient capital reserves and liquidity (...). After the agreement on the Single Supervisory Mechanism two days ago, we are taking another fundamental step towards a genuine Banking Union, which will contribute to securing the stability of European banks and benefit our economies at large”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Creation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism for banks within the eurozone: statement by Commissioner Barnier following the trilogue agreement
“I congratulate the European Parliament and the Council on reaching an agreement today on a crucial legislative package (...). This is a first fundamental step towards a real banking union which must restore confidence in the eurozone's banks and ensure the solidity and reliability of the banking sector”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
“These new EU initiatives will increase opportunities for innovative start-ups or social businesses to find capital”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Revised rules on capital requirements for banks: Commissioner Barnier’s remarks during the press conference at the European Parliament
“It is my belief that we now have all the elements for an agreement on this text, which is essential for the financial stability of Europe (…) The new rules will force banks to hold more, and better capital. This will make them more able to weather economic shocks and crises.”.
"Economic forecasts released last Friday by the European Commission confirm a weak economic outlook in France and Europe. Even if some of the signs are encouraging, 2013 will remain a difficult year, with the EU showing only barely positive growth (+0.1%)."
“Interbank interest rate benchmarks are systemic benchmarks which are important for the transmission of the euro area’s monetary policy. (...) Any failures may cause losses for investors, distort the real economy and undermine market confidence. (...) The Commission is aiming to present its proposal on benchmarks in the second quarter of 2013 and I expect that proposal to include the power to impose mandatory submissions for systemic benchmarks such as Euribor.” Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Derivatives: Statement by Commissioner Barnier on the technical standards to implement the new rules
“I take note of the fact that the European Parliament has decided not to object to our proposed technical standards to implement our new rules on derivatives. (...) This means that the standards can now enter into force around mid-March”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
“Building a banking union, protecting consumers of financial services and creating a global level playing field: these are the three key actions that will give Europe a stronger financial sector.” Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the 11th annual Financial Services Conference.
European Parliament’s vote on new rules to regulate credit rating agencies (CRAs): Statement by Commissioner Barnier
Commissioner Barnier has welcomed the agreement on new rules on credit rating agencies (CRAs) reached today by the European Parliament. “This agreement will considerably improve the quality of ratings. Credit rating agencies will have to be more transparent when rating sovereign states and will have to follow stricter rules which will make them more accountable for mistakes in case of negligence or intent”, said the Commissioner.
"I thank the European Parliament for their quick work and excellent cooperation in the area of the new legislative initiatives aimed at better managing and regulating credit rating agencies". Speech by Commissioner Barnier.
Basel Committee’s agreement on the revised liquidity standards for banks: Statement by Commissioner Barnier
Commissioner Barnier has welcomed the unanimous agreement on the revised liquidity standards for banks reached yesterday by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. “I now call upon the Parliament and the Council to successfully conclude the CRD IV trilogue negotiations in the coming weeks”, said the Commissioner.
“It is the responsibility of political leaders to convince people that being European is not simply an option but a necessity”. Interview with Michel Barnier, by C. Barbier, L’Express.
Commission adopts implementing rules for the Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFMD)
The Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers is one of the measures taken by the European Union in its commitment to fight financial crisis. It aims to create a general and efficient regulatory and monitoring framework for alternative investment fund managers in Europe.
Commission adopts technical standards for the Regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR)
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: “The adoption of these technical standards is the final step in achieving the mandatory clearing and reporting of OTC derivatives and in meeting our G20 commitments. This will improve transparency in the trading of derivatives”.
The European banking union, a precondition to financial stability and a historical step forward for European integration
“Member States have agreed to hand over the key supervisory tasks over their banks to the European Central Bank. This is the first step towards the Banking Union. The ECB will be in a position to detect risks to the viability of banks. And require banks to take the necessary actions. (...) This Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) will be a great asset for financial stability in Europe”. Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the EU–US Transatlantic Corporate Governance Dialogue, National Bank of Belgium
“24 hours after reaching an historical agreement on the European patent, which is a key component for our competitiveness, the Council has found a common approach on a fundamental element of financial stability in Europe”. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
In the recent LIBOR scandal, serious concerns have been raised about the manipulation of benchmarks, which can result in significant losses to consumers and investors, or distort the real economy. European justice ministers meeting in the Council of the European Union have today reached agreement on the Commission’s proposals for a Directive on insider dealing and market manipulation that will criminalise such behaviour.
“Commissioner Barnier says there will be no exceptions for savings or cooperative banks. In the future, all banks in the Eurozone will be subject to supervision by the European Central Bank, in order to preserve the credibility of the system”. Article by Tobias Kaiser and Holger Zschäpitz, Die Welt.
“I welcome the important agreement reached today on additional rules for credit rating agencies (CRAs) which aim to reduce the over-reliance on ratings, eradicate conflicts of interest, and establish a civil liability regime. (...) The EU has already adopted rules on CRAs. Today’s rules build further on the work that we have already done”.
On Monday 19 November the European Commission hosted a high level one-day conference on the progress underway to ensure the safety and stability of the EU financial sector, to reinforce the Single Market, and to help promote economic growth. Commissioner Barnier opened the event.
"The solution to our problems is not less Europe, but more Europe. In particular, it is a more modern single market, better adapted to the new economic, technological and social conditions of our time." Speech by Commissioner Barnier during his visit to the Netherlands in the framework of the Single Market Week.
Final report by the European Banking Authority (EBA) on the recapitalisation of European banks: statement by Commissioner Barnier
"This final report by EBA on the bank recapitalisation exercise provides important details on the state of the European banking sector". Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
The Commission has today received the report prepared by the High-level Expert Group on reforming the structure of the EU banking sector. The Group chaired by Erkki Liikanen presented the main findings to Commissioner Barnier.
Basel Committee's preliminary "Regulatory Consistency Assessment": statement by Commissioner Barnier
"In 12 out of 14 areas of the preliminary 'Regulatory Consistency Assessment' concerning the EU published by the Basel Committee today, the draft European legislation has been fairly assessed to be 'compliant' or 'largely compliant'. I have, however, reservations about the preliminary findings in the remaining two areas…". Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Tackling the culture of manipulation: What were the systemic failures? How widespread is the problem and what action is being taken?
"Les indices de références s'utilisent au plan mondial, il est fondamental de coordonner nos travaux avec nos partenaires internationaux. La Commission travaille donc étroitement avec la BCE et d'autres banques centrales, le FSB et l'IOSCO afin d'envisager le plus rapidement possible des alternatives au système actuel qui répondent le mieux aux besoins de l'économie." Speech by Commissioner Michel Barnier.
The Commission has presented proposals for a single European supervisory mechanism, a major step to a banking union. This new system, with the European Central Bank (ECB) at the core and involving national supervisors, will restore confidence in the supervision of all banks in the euro area. Commissioner Barnier said: "Banking supervision needs to become more effective in all European countries to make sure that single market rules are applied in a consistent manner. It will be the role of the ECB to make sure that banks in the euro area stick to sound financial practices. Our ultimate aim is to stop using taxpayers' money to bail out banks".
"How can we ensure that Europe's financial centres are able to rise to today's challenges?" Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the European Financial Centre Roundtable.
Who controls Europe’s banks? The introduction of a central banking supervision authority is regarded as a decisive step towards the rescue of the Euro currency. Süddeutsche Zeitung.
M. Barnier on the plans to reform banking supervision in the Euro zone. Interview by Beda Romano. Il Sole 24 Ore.
The consultation builds on and is complementary to the European Securities and Markets Authority's (ESMA) guidelines on ETF (exchange-traded funds) and other UCITS issues of 25 July. The consultation raises a series of issues and policy options aimed at maintaining investor confidence in money market funds.
In the recent LIBOR scandal, serious concerns have been raised about false submissions of banks' estimated interbank lending rates. The European Commission has today acted to address this kind of market manipulation, by adopting amendments to the proposals for a Regulation and a Directive on insider dealing and market manipulation, including criminal sanctions, initially tabled on 20 October 2011.
"Thank you for your mobilization! We need your support to reach our goal: no financial player, no financial product and no financial market should escape effective regulation and supervision". Michel Barnier on the Avaaz petition on banking reform.
"We need an integrated Financial Union with enhanced democratic control". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington DC.
"The decisions we have to make are historical: they involve the future of the European project. We have to regain the confidence not only of markets and institutional investors, but also of small investors and savers". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Economic and Monetary Affairs Commission of the European Parliament (structured dialogue).
Short selling: Commission adopts rules on the ban on uncovered sovereign credit default swaps and short sales of shares and sovereign debt
The European Commission has today adopted a Delegated Act which sets out important technical rules needed to ensure the uniform application and enforcement of the Short Selling Regulation . In particular, the delegated act specifies the cases in which sovereign credit default swaps are considered covered, and therefore not banned in accordance with the Regulation.
In the aftermath of the biggest financial crisis in recent memory, the financial sector must place consumers at its heart. Retail products must be safer, information standards must become clearer, and those selling products must always be subject to the highest standards. The European Commission has adopted today a legislative package solely dedicated to consumers, which includes a proposal for a regulation on key information documents for packaged retail investment products (PRIPS), a revision of the Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD), and a proposal to boost protection for those who buy investment funds (UCITS).
The European Commission has today set out the detailed rules aimed at reducing the risk of settlement failures linked to naked short selling, as well as the means by which market participants should disclose significant short positions to the market.
Council and Parliament agree on Commission proposals on European venture capital funds and European social entrepreneurship funds
"This agreement sends an important signal that taking concrete measures to aid growth in Europe is at the heart of our work". Commissioner Barnier welcomes trilogue agreement by Council and Parliament on European venture capital funds and European social entrepreneurship funds.
“The revision of the Directive on insurance mediation (IMD) is an important step in restoring consumer confidence in the financial sector” — Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Conference of the European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries (BIPAR).
"The question that is uppermost in my mind is how to strike the right balance between the need to impose prudential regulation and the need to stimulate growth." Interview by Monique Grégoire, Forces.
"While other parts of the world were moving steadily towards recovery, in the summer of 2011 the euro zone was hit by the sovereign debt crisis. This latest crisis is related to the previous crises (financial, then economic and social), which required significant recovery plans from European governments." Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the 18th International Economic Forum of the Americas, Montreal.
"Citizens throughout the EU are right now asking themselves that same question. Do we need more Europe? Or less? My personal conviction is that we are and remain stronger together". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Institute of International Finance (IIF) Conference, Copenhagen.
The financial crisis highlighted that public authorities are ill-equipped to deal with ailing banks operating in today's global markets and has cost taxpayers a lot of money. The proposals adopted today by the European Commission for EU-wide rules for bank recovery and resolution will change this. They ensure that in the future authorities will have the means to intervene decisively both before problems occur and early on in the process if they do.
"We must restore confidence in the ability of the financial system to channel funding towards the real economy over the long term while protecting investors and consumers. By moving in this direction, our proposals on Solvency II, insurance intermediaries and occupational pensions institutions give us an opportunity to help put the European economy back on the path towards sustainable growth". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Insurance Europe Conference.
"Along with stronger capital requirements, the regulation of shadow banking and a framework for managing and preventing bank crises, we need to continue the debate on possible structural reforms to the banking sector". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at a Parliamentary debate.
"Thanks to the hard work of the national delegations and the Danish Presidency, we have marked important progress today. Member States have given the Presidency a mandate to start the next and final step: negotiations with the European Parliament."
"Our goal should not be to have a homogenous European payments market. National specificities are often based on the habits and preferences of consumers which we must respect. That said, consumers will only reap the benefits of electronic and mobile commerce if their purchases – and therefore their payments – abroad are made as easily as in their own country." Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Conference on card, internet and mobile payments.
"Asset managers are in the vanguard to make Europeans' savings work for businesses. And to help savers better manage the risks they face in the course of their lives." Speech by Commissioner Barnier to the European Fund and Asset Management Association.
Revised rules on capital requirements (CRD IV): Statement by Commissioner Barnier following the ECOFIN Council
"We have made real progress at this extraordinary Council. And I am convinced that at the next ECOFIN meeting on 15 May, on the basis of the very large consensus on the latest compromise text, the Council will be able to formally give the Presidency a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament".
"What lessons have we drawn from the crisis if we allow risky activities to prosper alongside better regulated and more solid ones?" Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Conference on the shadow banking system.
Speech by Commissioner Barnier, joint conference of the European Central Bank and the European Commission: "Financial integration and stability: towards a more resilient single EU financial market ", Frankfurt am Main.
Resilience in the financial sector has improved in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and action is now focusing on longer-term growth goals, although vulnerabilities remain, according to an annual European Commission report on financial integration and stability.
"Ce Conseil informel nous a permis de faire de vrais progrès sur un nombre de sujets sensibles. Il est essentiel que nous ne perdions pas le momentum. Nous avons besoin de tout un arsenal de mesures pour éviter une nouvelle crise et ses conséquences catastrophiques sur l'emploi et sur la croissance. C'est pourquoi nous devons conclure les négociations sur la capitalisation des banques (CRD 4), sur les agences de notation et toutes les autres propositions sur la table des co-législateurs au plus vite."
"Our proposal on bank recovery and resolution is being finalised. This proposal is the final missing piece of the puzzle to implement the commitments agreed at international level by the G20 for reducing systemic risks in the banking sector. The new framework will be broad-ranging and will equip authorities with common and effective tools and powers to tackle bank crises at the earliest possible moment." Statement by Commissioner Michel Barnier.
"We need an integrated market. A stronger single market for financial services. For economic efficiency. For a good allocation of capital. And for investors to have a greater choice." Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Eurofi High Level Seminar in Copenhagen.
"I congratulate the European Parliament on its vote approving a regulation for more stability, transparency and efficiency in derivatives markets. Today's vote is a key step in our effort to establish a safer and sounder regulatory framework for European financial markets." Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Commissioner Barnier sets out the concrete steps being taken in order to better involve civil society in the new financial regulation. This greater participation of all stakeholders will soon be given the opportunity to prove its effectiveness, since 2012 will be full of initiatives that will have a strong impact on consumers of financial services. Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the '' Finance and Society Conference 2012'' (Finance Watch) in Brussels.
"My priorities for 2012 focus on initiatives that see the financial sector as a source of financing for our economies, and therefore as an agent of economic growth…" Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the press conference launching the Green Paper on shadow banking, Brussels.
In order to make the financial sector sounder and safer, it is now time to deal with the growing area of "shadow banking" – credit activity that is similar to a bank's, but is not regulated like a bank. To a certain extent, shadow banking performs important functions – for example, it creates additional sources of funding and offers investors alternatives to bank deposits. But it can also pose potential threats to long-term financial stability.
Commission acts to increase the safety and efficiency of securities settlement in Europe The European Commission has proposed to set up a European common regulatory framework for the institutions responsible for securities settlement, called Central Securities Depositories (CSDs). The proposal will bring more safety and efficiency to securities settlement in Europe. It also seeks to shorten the time it takes for securities settlement and to minimise settlement fails.
The European Union is carrying out some ambitious initiatives in order to address the crises that we have faced, and continue to face. The steps we are taking towards a sound financial regulation, better governance and stronger, more sustainable growth are leading us in the right direction.
Towards a real single market for occupational pensions offering greater choice and better protection for pensioners
"I would like to outline the five reasons why I believe that the revision of the Directive will help us to benefit from a more modern legislative framework better adapted to current socio-economic requirements". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the public hearing on the revision of the Directive on occupational pensions.
Commissioner Barnier appoints members of a High-level Expert Group on possible reforms to the structure of the EU banking sector
Commissioner Barnier has today appointed the members of the High-level Expert Group set to examine structural aspects of the EU's banking sector. The Group will present its final report to the Commission by the end of summer 2012.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body with 36 members, and with the participation of over 180 countries, has adopted new standards aimed at strengthening global safeguards and protecting the integrity of the financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing threats. The European Commission will now take steps to ensure that these revised standards are rapidly incorporated into our own European framework.
Statement by Commissioner Michel Barnier welcoming the appointment of David Wright as Secretary-General of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).
"I am aware that there is a lot of concern about the introduction of risk-based solvency rules for pension funds. We will inspire ourselves from these rules when appropriate but that does not mean we will 'copy and paste' Solvency II" – Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
"I congratulate the European Parliament and the Council on reaching today an important agreement on a regulation for more stability, transparency and efficiency in derivatives markets (…) The era of opacity and shady deals is over". Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
"The framework for remuneration plays an important role in restoring public confidence in European banks." Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the European Parliament workshop on the rules of CRD III in the area of remuneration policies.
In an interview with Bloomberg at Davos, Commissioner Barnier talks about the plan for an EU framework for bank resolution and crisis management in the financial sector. He also discusses shadow banking, rules on bank bonuses, the relationship with the United Kingdom and the creation of an expert group on the structure of the EU banking sector, chaired by Mr. Erkki Liikanen. Interview by C. Connan. Bloomberg.
Statement by Commissioner Barnier following the agreement at the ECOFIN Council on a revised mandate on derivatives (EMIR).
"The EU must not hinder the City's energy. But I am sure it is in the City's interest, and the wider British interest, to play the European game." Speech by Commissioner Barnier in London.
"The meaning of the decisions taken by the European Commission, heads of state and government, is very clear. At the highest level, there is an unbreakable political determination to take all the necessary measures to overcome the current crisis". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the conference "Restoring Confidence in Financial Markets", Tokyo.
"The current crisis is not only a 'European crisis'. It affects all countries. Therefore, we should reinforce global governance". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the Asian Financial Forum, Hong Kong.
In agreement with President Barroso, Commissioner Barnier has today appointed Erkki Liikanen as the Chairman of the future Group.
Statement by Commissioner Barnier on the decision by Standard & Poor's to downgrade several countries in the euro area.
The way European citizens shop and pay is radically changing. A secure and transparent integrated payments environment throughout the EU could create more efficient, modern and safer means of payments. Based on the Green Paper adopted today, the Commission seeks the views of stakeholders as to which obstacles hinder further market integration and how these could be resolved. The deadline for submitting contributions is 11 April 2012.
Commissioner Michel Barnier welcomes agreement by Council and Parliament establishing SEPA migration end-dates
"Today's agreement by the European Parliament and the Council represents a significant step towards a truly integrated market for electronic retail payments in euro". Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
Statement by Commissioner Barnier on the EFTA Surveillance Authority's decision to take Iceland to the EFTA Court over its breach of the Deposit Guarantee Directive.
Video interview with Commissioner Barnier on consumer rights (bank account statements, access to basic bank accounts, e-commerce). viEUws.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a formal Recommendation, and the final figures, related to banks’ recapitalisation needs. These measures form part of a broader European package to address the current situation in the EU by restoring stability and confidence in the markets.
Consultation on the application of Directive 2007/44 EC as regards acquisitions and increase of holdings in the financial sector
Video interview with Commissioner Barnier on credit rating agencies. viEUws.
Video interview with Commissioner Barnier on bank capital requirements. viEUws.
The European Parliament and European Commission have joined forces to call on banks to ensure this year’s bonus round complies with EU rules agreed by the 27 finance ministers in November 2010. Statement by Commissioner Barnier.
"With Solvency II, our goal is to introduce a modern solvency regime for all EU insurers and reinsurers". Speech by Commissioner Barnier to the French Federation of Insurance Companies (FFSA).
"In the current difficult economic climate in which we live, the human dimension of policy and regulation is more important than ever". Speech by Commissioner Barnier at the European Economic and Social Committee.
"This crisis is first and foremost a crisis of confidence. The citizens have lost confidence. The markets have lost confidence. They test our unity and our determination to change the models on which we have rested for too long." Interview by Sophie Guillaud, Eco des Pays de Savoie.
Financial regulation and the Single Market Act: two instruments for revitalising the European project
The 12 levers set out in the Single Market Act – drafted on the basis of a report submitted by Mario Monti in 2010 – "have the potential to increase Europe's growth by an additional 3 percentage points by 2020. For this to happen, we have to accept – in Italy as in other Member States – that in some areas the status quo must be challenged." Speech by Commissioner Barnier before the Italian Parliament.