On the occasion of President Juncker’s 2016 State of the Union address, the European Commission has today set out the next steps to accelerate the completion of the Capital Markets Union (CMU), a flagship project of the Juncker Commission to boost jobs and growth in Europe.
The CMU is a key building block of the Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe. It seeks to give businesses access to alternative, more diverse sources of funding so they can thrive. It makes Europe’s financial system more stable. It allows capital to move more freely across borders in the Single Market so that it can be put to good use to support our companies and offer Europeans more investment opportunities.
Today's Communication sets out the steps needed to make sure the CMU has a tangible impact on the ground as soon as possible. The Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to rapidly finalise the first wave of proposed measures and will accelerate the delivery of the next set of actions. The CMU Action Plan launched a year ago set out actions to put in place the building blocks for the CMU by 2019 at the latest.
European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: "Developing stronger and deeper capital markets in the EU is more important than ever to allow funds to flow to our companies to the benefit of the real economy, growth and investment. It's now time to finish the first building blocks of the Capital Markets Union and move forward with new priorities. We'll work closely with co-legislators so we can progress quickly and make the CMU a reality."
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth and Investment, said: "The most important part of the Investment Plan is improving the business environment in Member States and removing barriers to investment. Completing the Capital Markets Union will help to knock down these barriers so that we can spur private sector investment in infrastructure and SMEs. We have already taken steps under the CMU, such as making it easier and cheaper for insurance companies to invest in long-term infrastructure projects. We will continue to drive forward the work in our Action Plan and we count on the support of Member States to carry out the necessary reforms at national level."
Finalising the first CMU measures
Today's Communication calls for the rapid completion of the first measures proposed under the Action Plan.
The swift implementation of the securitisation package has the potential to quickly generate additional funding in the real economy: the Council has already reached an agreement on Simple, Transparent and Standardised (STS) securitisation and progress should now be made urgently in the European Parliament. STS securitisations will free up capacity on banks’ balance sheets and provide investment opportunities for investors. If EU securitisations could be revived – safely – to pre-crisis levels, it could fuel the economy with EUR 100 billion and boost financial stability.
The Commission will do its utmost to support the co-legislators in finding an agreement on the modernisation of the Prospectus rules by the end of the year. This will increase access to capital markets, in particular for smaller companies.
The Commission also calls on the European Parliament and the Council to finalise the proposal to strengthen venture capital markets and social investments by the end of 2016. This will boost investment into venture capital and social projects and make it easier for investors to fund small and medium-sized innovative companies. In addition, the Commission intends to take forward a programme to support the development of national and regional capital markets in the Member States.
Accelerating the next phase of CMU
The Commission will now rapidly take forward the next phase of other key CMU actions. Differences in insolvency regimes present a long standing barrier to the development of capital markets in the EU. The Commission will present shortly a proposal on business restructuring and insolvency to speed up recovery of assets and give companies a second chance if they fail the first time around.
We will knock down tax barriers that are hampering the development of capital markets. We will encourage Member States to remove withholding tax barriers and encourage best tax practices in promoting venture capital, such as increasing equity financing over debt. This will encourage equity investments and benefit financial stability as companies with a stronger capital base would be less vulnerable to shocks. The Commission intends to issue a proposal on the debt-equity bias in November, in the context of its proposal on the CCCTB, and calls on the Council to adopt that measure as rapidly as possible. The Commission will also amend insurance and banking legislation by the end of the year, to further unlock private investment in infrastructure and SMEs.
Developing fresh CMU priorities
The Commission will develop further priorities. It will support the development of personal pensions markets and other retail financial services, so as to encourage Europeans to put their savings to better use.
It will establish an expert group to develop a comprehensive European strategy on sustainable finance, both to support investment in green technologies and to ensure that the financial system can finance growth in a way that is sustainable.
Technology is driving rapid change in the financial sector and has the power to increase the role of capital markets, and bring them closer to companies and investors. It also benefits consumers by offering a wider choice of services. This innovative potential should be harnessed. The Commission will work to develop a co-ordinated policy approach that supports the development of FinTech in an appropriate regulatory environment.
Effective and consistent supervision is essential to ensure investor protection, promote the integration of capital markets and safeguard financial stability. The Commission will consider, in close consultation with the European Parliament and the Council, the further steps in relation to the supervisory framework that are necessary to reap the full potential of CMU.
The Commission will continue to monitor developments and identify further actions that are necessary to develop the CMU in the context of the 2017 CMU mid-term review that will soon be launched.
The Capital Markets Union seeks to better connect savings to investment and to strengthen the European financial system by providing alternative sources of financing and increasing options for retail and institutional investors. Removing obstacles to the free flow of capital across borders will strengthen Economic and Monetary Union by supporting economic convergence and helping to cushion economic shocks in the euro area and beyond, making the European economy more resilient.
On 30 September 2015 the Commission adopted an Action Plan on Building a Capital Markets Union (CMU). The Action Plan sets out a programme of actions which aim to establish the building blocks of an integrated capital market in the European Union by 2019.
The Action Plan is built around the following key principles:
Creating more opportunities for investors
Connecting financing to the real economy
Fostering a stronger and more resilient financial system
Deepening financial integration and increasing competition
On 25 April 2016, the Commission took stock of the progress made in the first six months since the adoption of the Capital Markets Union Action Plan and published the first CMU status report.
The European Council of 28 June 2016 called for swift and determined progress to ensure easier access to finance for businesses and to support investment in the real economy by moving forward with the CMU agenda.
Q&A on the Communication on Capital Markets Union
Communication on Capital Markets Union- Accelerating Reform
Action Plan on Building a Capital Markets Union
Capital Markets Union: First Status Report