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Brussels, 2 October 2013
Statement by Commissioner Michel Barnier on the application date of Solvency II
The Commission today at my request put forward a draft Directive postponing the application date of the Solvency II Directive to 1 January 2016.
The Solvency II Directive, already adopted, creates a modern and risk-based prudential regime for insurance and reinsurance undertakings. National regulatory regimes for insurance, which vary greatly, are no longer able to guarantee an efficient internal market and prevent possible future crises.
A legislative proposal known as "Omnibus II", currently in trilogue discussions, makes significant modifications to Solvency II, in particular as regards insurance products with long-term guarantees (life insurance etc.). Based on an excellent report by EIOPA (the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority), a package of measures is under discussion to facilitate the transition to Solvency II and to mitigate the effects on the undertakings' own funds of artificial volatility of asset prices or discount rates.
The latest trilogues on Omnibus II are progressing well. An agreement between Council and European Parliament is within reach. But it will not be possible to publish the Omnibus II Directive in the Official Journal before 1 January 2014, the date when Solvency II is currently scheduled to start to apply. Moreover, before Omnibus II can be applied, a number of implementing measures are needed, and these cannot be finalised before the details of Omnibus II are known.
I have always wanted rapid implementation of Solvency II. But the currently planned date is simply no longer tenable. We have therefore proposed this postponement in order to avoid any legal uncertainty, especially for undertakings and supervisory authorities; we have done this only after obtaining assurance from the Council and the Parliament that they would not further change this new application date of Solvency II.
I now invite the co-legislators to reach agreement as soon as possible on Omnibus II and on this new Directive.