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27 February 2014

This week in "Brussels"

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International/G20European Council/ParliamentGraham Bishop’s Articles and Speeches
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Articles from 20 February 2014 - 27 February 2014


ESM/Regling: Interview with Diario Economico
Regling gave his assessment on the SRM, saying he hoped a solution would be found by April in order to avoid reaching a point where the stress tests had been carried out without agreement on the SRM. He went on to discuss eurobonds and the OMT programme.  View Article
German banks say faster build-up of eurozone bank fund 'unacceptable'
In a joint letter to Finance Minister Schäuble, the five big German banking associations said that the proposed acceleration of payments into the fund to finance eurozone bank closures would put unacceptable strains on German banks.  View Article
BCBS/Ingves: Banking on leverage
Ingves said that leverage was an inherent and essential part of modern banking systems, and sound prudential controls were needed to ensure that private incentives did not result in excessive leverage.  View Article
SMH: BoE governor Mark Carney wants to make banks pay their own way
Carney has told the world's biggest banks to stop complaining about proposed new capital requirements, saying they've had it too easy for too long.  View Article
Alexander Friedman: What bank stress tests are missing
If the ECB wishes to bolster institutions effectively, it needs not just an asset quality review but also a recapitalisation quality review (RQR), writes Friedman in the WSJ. If the ECB is serious about "doing whatever it takes to save the eurozone", it can't afford to skip this added safety measure, he says.  View Article
FN: Banks' hopes rise for clearing capital reprieve
Rules that looked set to affect severely European banks' ability to trade across Asia are likely to be delayed, in a development that will offer relief to a swathe of the institutions active in the region.  View Article
Monetary Dialogue 2009-2014: Looking backward, looking forward
The ECON Committee requested position papers for the Monetary Dialogue with a focus on the role and democratic accountability of the ECB.  View Article
BoE consults on approach to supervising international banks
The consultation paper sets out how the PRA will supervise UK branches of banks based outside the EEA and also explains in more detail the PRA's approach to EEA branches and subsidiaries. Deadline for comments is 27 May, 2014.  View Article


Central securities depositories: Council confirms agreement with EP
The Perm Reps Committee approved, on behalf of the Council, an agreement reached with the EP on new rules aimed at improving safety in the securities settlement system and at opening the market for CSD services.  View Article
ESMA sets out CRA supervision focus for 2014
ESMA has published its Annual Report 2013 on credit rating agencies in the EU. The Report also outlines ESMA's supervisory work plan for this year.  View Article
ESMA/Ross: Liquidity and new financial market regulation
Ross elaborated on the work ahead on MiFID II, on defining liquidity within financial markets for MiFID II, and on the implementation of EMIR. "2014 will become a crucial year, especially for anything to do with financial markets infrastructures", she said.  View Article
Daniel Hodson: Time to embrace European derivatives competition
Writing for the FT, Hodson says that ensuring competition is imperative to well-functioning markets.  View Article
SNL: European benchmark legislation threatens banks' derivatives positions
European legislation meant to ensure transparent and fair pricing in the wake of the Libor scandal may have the unintended consequence of forcing European banks to dump derivatives positions.  View Article


Plenary Session: Insurance - Better information, advice and protection for clients
MEPs voted that buying insurance should be made easier and safer by amendments to a draft update of EU rules on the information and advice offered by insurance salesmen.  View Article
Comments on Plenary vote on IMD2: Greens, Insurance Europe
The EP report introduces a recital seeking to "ensure alignment" between IMD 2 and MiFID 2. The exact details of what is meant by this alignment are unclear, but the EP agreed that this would need to be worked out during trialogue negotiations on IMD 2.  View Article Insurers clamour for materiality guidance on Solvency II reporting
UK insurers are urging regulators to lay out clear guidance on materiality thresholds for Solvency II's regulatory reporting requirements, amid concerns that current policy will force firms to submit excessive amounts of data.  View Article

Asset Management

EP and Council back Commission proposal for strengthened European rules on UCITS
These new rules will significantly increase the level of protection enjoyed by UCITS investors. They are a key step towards restoring investor confidence in the wake of the financial crisis. (Includes comments from President Barnier, ECOFIN President Stournaras and Greens/Giegold.)  View Article
European Commission: Pensions - Ongoing reforms will help Member States tackle demographic and sustainability challenges
The ongoing wave of pension reforms implemented by EU Member States will help them to achieve more sustainable pension systems and face demographic changes ahead, the Commission stressed on the occasion of the publication of the World Bank report, "The Inverting Pyramid".  View Article
World Bank: Rising to the challenge of the ageing European population
In "The Inverting Pyramid: Pension Systems Facing Demographic Challenges in Europe and Central Asia", the World Bank warns that without major pension reforms within the EU, elderly people in situations of poverty and the young will suffer from the system's incapacity to guarantee pensions.  View Article
Commission and Germany disagree over pension reform
Referring to Germany's plans to lower the retirement age for some people to 63, VP Rehn said that he could not think of any convincing economic arguments for turning back pension reforms. He also hinted he would not rule out taking action against Germany on the issue in the future.   View Article
ESMA launches one-stop shop for EU regulated investment information
ESMA has put in place new consolidated registers on its website. This is a reference tool aimed at enhancing investor protection by improving transparency across the EEA and providing the public with access to official information.  View Article
Fitch: Potential EU money fund ABCP restrictions still not clear
The decision by the ECON Committee to postpone agreement on draft rules to regulate money market funds leaves the scope of possible investment restrictions on asset-backed commercial paper unclear, Fitch Ratings says.   View Article

Corporate Governance/Accounting

FEE's involvement in the implementation of the new Audit Reform Directive and Regulation
FEE submitted a letter to Commissioner Barnier regarding the finalisation and implementation phases of the new Audit Reform Directive and Regulation.   View Article
Comments on OECD Discussion Draft on Transfer Pricing Documentation and CbCR: GFIA, Insurance Europe
GFIA and Insurance Europe support the OECD's efforts to enhance transparency towards tax authorities, on the basis of the principle of disclosure of information, in order to enable tax authorities to have a better view of multinational groups as a whole.  View Article
FEE comments on IPSASB's consultations on EDs 48, 49 and 53
FEE replied to the IPSASB's public consultations on: ED 48, Separate Financial Statements; ED 49, Consolidated Financial Statements; and ED 53, First-Time Adoption of Accrual Basis International Public Sector Accounting Standards.  View Article
FEE comments on IPSASB's consultations on EDs 50, 51 and 52
FEE replied to the IPSASB's public consultation on: ED 50, Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures; ED 51, Joint Arrangements; and ED 52, Disclosure of interests in other entities.  View Article
FEE comments on Eurostat's consultation on future EPSAS governance principles and structures
FEE has taken note of the public consultation launched by Eurostat on the future EPSAS governance principles and structures. FEE has identified some concerns related to the development and implementation of EPSAS.  View Article

Financial Services Policy

European Commission Winter 2014 forecast: Recovery gaining ground
The winter forecast foresees a continuation of the economic recovery in most Member States and in the EU as a whole. After exiting recession in spring 2013 and three consecutive quarters of subdued recovery, the outlook is for a moderate step-up in economic growth. (Includes VP Rehn comments.)  View Article


G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Sidney
The G20 nations will aim to increase global growth by at least two percentage points over the next five years (ca. $2 trillion in economic activity), but are yet to endorse a clear action plan. Commissioner Šemeta welcomed the group's agreement on a global tax transparency standard.  View Article
FT: US pushes for greater transparency in EU business regulation
The move is likely to face resistance in Brussels and draw the ire of critics in Europe, who are already concerned that a proposed TTIP would weaken consumer regulations and give US corporations the right to challenge European laws as trade barriers.  View Article
OECD: Ambitious structural reforms can pave the return to strong and sustainable growth
Adopting ambitious and comprehensive structural reform agendas will offer governments the best chance for a return to strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth that creates jobs and reduces inequality, according to the OECD's latest 'Going for Growth' report.  View Article
TTIP: EU wants special rights for corporations
So far, the Commission has maintained secrecy over its position on the free trade talks with the US. However, German newspaper Die Zeit has leaked the EU draft proposal on trade in services, investment and e-commerce for the TTIP negotiations.  View Article

European Council/Parliament

Plenary Session: Report on the European Semester for Economic Policy Coordination - Annual Growth Survey 2014
The EP has adopted three reports in the framework of the fourth European Semester launched by the Commission for next year, setting as a priority: "strengthening the recovery". (Includes comments from President Barroso and ALDE/De Backer.)  View Article
Competitiveness Council conclusions on Annual Growth Survey / State of the Single Market Integration / European Foundation
Ministers held a debate on the Commission's Annual Growth Survey for 2014. The AGS 2014 is accompanied by the second edition of the "State of the Single Market Integration", a report that shows the state of single market integration in key areas with the greatest economic growth potential.  View Article
ECON Committee: EU/ECB/IMF Troika needs fixing, but ministers must shoulder responsibilities
The Troika helped four EU countries out of the crisis and prevented it from getting worse. But flaws in the way the Troika worked hindered national "ownership" of economic reforms, and compromised transparency and accountability, says an ECON Committee resolution. (Includes EP group comments.)  View Article

Graham Bishop’s Articles and Speeches

Graham Bishop: Cameron + Merkel = Treaty Change + 'Contractual Arrangements'?
The plushest of red carpets is being rolled out by the UK for Chancellor Merkel on 27th February – everything short of a full State Visit. What does the UK want out of this visit and might it be given? The critical issue is "Treaty change".  View Article

© Graham Bishop

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