Remarks by Commissioner McGuinness at the press conference on the 2021 Capital Markets Union package

(Source: European Commission)

Thank you Valdis and good afternoon everyone.

As you said, what we are doing with this package is, if you like, a step forward in creating the Capital Markets Union.

We want to fund the green and digital transition, and also boost the economic recovery.

Capital markets will help money flow towards sustainable companies and projects. And what we are doing is building a green Capital Markets Union.

Similarly, the digital transformation of the European economy needs significant private investment.

And we know too that technology can help and support the integration of European capital markets.

Today there are still too many barriers between national capital markets in the European Union and these need to be broken down.

So as I say we are stepping up work on the CMU.

And I look forward to working with the Parliament and Member States on this package.

Valdis has taken us through some of the important aspects of our proposal.

One is this increasing transparency of the markets by introducing a European consolidated tape for trading information, which is as you say currently scattered.

And this is good for companies, it’s good for investors.

The second point is another one around information, the European Single Access Point.

We don’t have a one-stop shop where you can get access to information from companies. If you want to invest, you have to do a lot of work, or you have to pay for someone to do that work for you.

We believe that ESAP will answer the questions asked by investors, both small and large, about company information.

And also to add that it won’t just be financial information, it will also deal with sustainability information.

And given that we are moving towards a more sustainable economy and society, this is a key part of the new single access point.

The review of the European Long-Term Investment Funds is to make them more attractive.

Because at the moment we have about 57 funds in 4 Member States. So they work, but we want them to increase in number, and in doing so we are being more flexible around the rules for retail investors, and clarifying the rules for professional investors.

And we are also finally making some limited changes to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive.

This works well, so we are not doing a major overhaul.

Today managers can delegate functions to third parties, and what we need to do is understand that this delegation is what it is, so it is a real delegation, but also that it is not just allowing for letter-box entities in the European Union. So a minimum of two people employed in the European Union. And I think this is important for investor trust in funds.

We are also harmonising the rules for funds that issue loans to companies, including SMEs.

This is important but we want to harmonise the rules because at the moment they are based on national rules, if we harmonise through this package, there will be more cross-border access to these loan funds, and that can only be to the good.

Looking to the future, because Capital Markets Union has been some time in the making, it’s a step by step approach, today’s announcement is important but next year, we will add to our work.

We are looking at the Listing Review to encourage more companies to list on EU public markets, particularly SMEs.

We are also going to come forward with an initiative to harmonise some corporate insolvency rules making it easier to predict the outcome of insolvency proceedings across the EU; it’s a particularly important issue for cross-border investors.

And we also want to focus on financial education, so we want our citizens to be financially literate, to be, if you like, confident to ask the right questions and to know what products will work for them.

And in that regard, we are working on a financial literacy, a financial information framework so that we can actually give specific criteria both to Member State and entities, about how you do identify those who have sufficient financial skills – and more importantly, address where there are gaps, so we empower all citizens.

And finally, we are looking at an open finance framework to allow data to be shared and re-used by financial institutions, subject to clear safeguards.

So briefly and in summary:

We are increasing capital market transparency, ensuring better access to information, giving more opportunities for funding for companies, and improving our rules.

Our companies need access to more diverse sources of funding to grow and innovate.

Citizens need better returns on their money.

And we need to break down the barriers between European capital markets, to build the CMU.

And that’s exactly what today’s package is aimed at.

So again, I look forward to working with our Member States and Parliament.

And slightly off script, can I just say that I’ve come from the Innovators’ Award, which our colleague Mariya Gabriel is responsible for.

And not just because it is from the Member State I know best, but it was very, very encouraging to see in the Rising Innovator Award category in the Women Innovator Prize, two sisters called Izzy Wheels, is their project. And it was interesting to talk to them about funding, and supports, they’re a small SME. They get support from government, but they also need other support. So this, what we’re reading if you like today, the details we’re giving you, is about the real world.

And when you meet innovators, large and small, you know what they need. They need access to capital, they need encouragement, and they need certainty around finance for the future. And we believe that this package will deliver that.

Thank you.

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