Issue 30 | February 2014

Structural reform of the EU banking sector

The European Commission has proposed new rules to stop the biggest and most complex banks from engaging in the risky activity of proprietary trading. The new rules would also give supervisors the power to require those banks to separate certain potentially risky trading activities from their deposit-taking business. The Commission has also adopted accompanying measures aimed at increasing transparency of certain transactions in the shadow banking sector.

"These proposals are the final cogs in the wheel to complete the regulatory overhaul of the European banking system. (...) The proposed measures will further strengthen financial stability and ensure taxpayers don’t end up paying for the mistakes of banks."

Latest news »« TOP
Commissioner Barnier welcomes:
Commissioner Barnier opens high-level group on retail competitiveness

The inaugural meeting of the High Level Group on Retail Competitiveness was opened by Commissioner Barnier in Brussels on 20 January 2014. The group, which is composed of executive managers representing the different stakeholders in the retail chain, will advise the Commission on retail policy.

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Deadline for SEPA migration: Commission introduces an additional transitional period of six months

On 9 January, the Commission adopted a proposal to give an extra transitional period of six months during which payments which differ from the SEPA format can still be accepted so as to minimise any possible risk of disruption to payments for consumers and businesses. The proposal does not change the formal deadline for migration (1 February 2014).

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New website on the European Company

Insufficient awareness and practical experience with the European Company Statute (Societas Europeae — SE) have often been quoted by stakeholders as important reasons for the low popularity of this European legal form. In its Action plan on company law and corporate governance of December 2012, the Commission announced that it was going to focus on improving this situation. A new website on the European Company is now available. It aims to provide information on the current legal framework for the European Company and to raise awareness among stakeholders on this European legal form. It is targeted at companies, legal advisers, national authorities and any other interested parties. Apart from explaining the basic facts about the European Company, it provides information about the relevant national legislation and authorities responsible across the EU.

  More about the European Company

Banking union: Council agrees general approach on Single Resolution Mechanism

On 19 December, the Council agreed a general approach on the single resolution mechanism (SRM). This will apply the substantive rules of the draft bank recovery and resolution directive in a coherent and centralised way, ensure consistent decisions for the resolution of banks, and introduce common resolution financing arrangements. The SRM is designed to ensure that — even with stronger supervision — if a bank subject to the Single Supervisory Mechanism faces serious difficulties, its resolution could be managed efficiently. In case of cross-border failures, it would be more effective than a network of national resolution authorities and avoid risks of contagion. The SRM should be finally agreed by the co-legislators before the end of the mandate of the current Parliament.

More information:

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Visits and Missions »« TOP
Commissioner Barnier, Hong Kong and mainland China - 4-7 January 2014

During his trip to Hong Kong and mainland China, Commissioner Barnier met the key officials and regulators in charge of economic and financial affairs, including the Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei and Vice-Governor Yi Gang. One of his main objectives was to explain the progress made by the EU in responding to the banking and sovereign debt crisis by a number of unprecedented reforms (economic governance, Banking Union, financial regulation agenda, etc.). Commissioner Barnier also pleaded for an increased bilateral dialogue with China and reinforced cooperation within international organisations to lift current restrictions on public procurement and to strengthen intellectual property rights. He emphasised that deeper bilateral relations were not only in the interest of European companies in China but also in the interest of Chinese companies and authorities, in order to support innovation and an increase in the value of Chinese products.

Commissioner Barnier, Athens - 8 January 2014

On 8th January, Commissioner Barnier took part in the first meeting of the College under the new Greek Presidency in Athens. He participated in the ‘Growth and Competitiveness’ cluster with Commissioners Alumnia, Tajani, De Gucht and Hahn. Commissioner Barnier declared his full commitment to support the work of the Greek Presidency in bringing a maximum of initiatives to maturity before the end of the mandate. He recalled that his priorities were to continue the process of stabilisation of the financial sector and to complete the Internal Market, especially in the areas of intellectual property, public procurement and services.

Commissioner Barnier, Strasbourg - 16-17 January 2014

Commissioner Barnier took part in the 'Social entrepreneurs: have your say!' event, organised by the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee and the city of Strasbourg. The main objective of this event was to take stock of the achievements of the Social Business Initiative and to prepare future actions at European, national and local level to continue to support social entrepreneurship in Europe. The social economy is an important pillar of the European economy, representing some 10% of GDP. More than 11 million workers or 4.5% of the active EU population are employed in the social economy. One in every four new businesses set up each year is a social business. This two-day event was attended by over 2000 people from some 80 countries and used a collaborative, participatory approach. The participants themselves decided the issues to be debated and identified the way forward for the social entrepreneurship sector through workshops and discussions. To conclude, a final declaration summarising the outcome of the discussions and representing the views of various stakeholders from the social enterprise sector was adopted. This event, the first of its kind for the European institutions, was a great success, not only in terms of numbers of participants and coverage in the press and on social media but, most importantly in terms of raising the profile of social entrepreneurship and giving the sector a platform through which to network and coordinate activities. The thirst for such a platform was evident through the high number of contributions, discussions and comments in the working groups, workshops, meeting places, social networks and more informal meetings.

Consultations »« TOP
  05.12.2013  -  05.03.2014Intellectual Property, CopyrightPublic Consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules

News from the Parliament »« TOP
Strasbourg plenary week (January 13 - 16 2014)


  • Key debate on the programme of activities of the Greek Presidency
  • Joint debate on Public procurement and Concessions directives
  • Debate on the International procurement instrument
  • Debate on Financial participation of employees in companies' proceeds

See also:
  Website: IMCO (Internal Market Committee)
  Website ECON (Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee)

For your diary »Latest publications »Question of the Month »
  12 February 2014
Conference on the modernisation of the professional qualifications Directive

  19 March 2014
Conference on the new EU rules on procurement and concessions

Single Market News
Nº67 (2013 – III)

Intellectual Property Rights - Europe’s asset, Europe’s priority

A new financial system for Europe – Financial reform at the service of growth

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