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Guides on the EU policy on Finance.
Financial Reporting: burden reduction for micro-entities - guide
The European Parliament has voted to approve measures to considerably simplify life for more than 5 million of the smallest companies in Europe. The measures will allow these companies to benefit from a very simple system of financial reporting, which will mean they can free up resources to invest in their businesses and deliver further growth.
EU Economic governance "Six-Pack" - guide
On 13th December 2011, the reinforced Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) enters into force with a new set of rules for economic and fiscal surveillance. These new measures, the so-called "Six-Pack", are made of five regulations and one directive proposed by the European Commission and approved by all 27 Member States and the European Parliament last October.
EU budget proposals for its external instruments from 2014-2020 - guide
The European Commission adopted budget proposals for its external instruments from 2014-2020 on 7 December. They will allow the European Union to fulfil its responsibility on the global stage: fighting poverty and promoting democracy, peace, stability and prosperity. The range of instruments will support developing countries as well as countries in the European neighbourhood and those that are preparing accession into the EU. The Commission is seeking to target its resources where it says they are most needed, where they will have the highest impact while ensuring more flexibility to be able to react swiftly to unforeseen events. This budget will also enable the EU to further reinforce its role on the global stage and promote its interests and values.
Venture capital for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - guide
The EU Action Plan to improve access to finance for SMEs presents the various EU policies and measures to make access to finance easier for Europe's 23 million SMEs. It covers actions to improve the venture capital market and facilitate access to financial resources. It contains also financial products to ease access to bank lending, for an amount of at least € 20 billion allocated to SMEs from the new Multiannual Financial Framework. A new survey published today shows that difficult access to finance is among the top concerns (15%) of SMEs. Almost two-thirds (63%) of the EU SMEs who applied for a bank loan during the last six months received the whole amount they asked for. However, 11% of the applications were rejected and 17% received less than they applied for. In addition 4% declined the loan offer from the bank because they found the conditions unacceptable. So about one third of the SMEs did not get the finance they had planned for.
European Commission Green Paper on the feasibility of introducing Stability Bonds - guide
The Green Paper published by the European Commission today structures the political debate in the EU on the rationale, pre-conditions and possible options of financing public debt through Stability Bonds. Such common issuance of bonds by the euro-area Member States would imply a significant deepening of Economic and Monetary Union. It would create new means through which governments finance their debt, by offering safe and liquid investment opportunities for savers and financial institutions and by setting up a euro-area wide integrated bond market that matches its US Dollar counterpart in terms of size and liquidity. The fiscal framework underlying EMU would similarly undergo a substantial change, as Stability Bonds would need to be accompanied by closer and stricter fiscal surveillance to ensure budgetary discipline. Some of the options for the design of Stability Bonds considered in the Green Paper might require a Treaty change. Regardless of any necessary time for implementation, agreement on common issuance could have an immediate impact on market expectations and thereby lower average and marginal funding costs for those Member States currently facing funding pressures.
New action for growth, governance and stability - guide
The package contains four elements: the 2012 Annual Growth Survey setting out the economic priorities for the coming year; two Regulations to tighten economic and budgetary surveillance in the euro area; and a Green Paper on Stability Bonds.
EU legislative proposal on credit rating agencies (CRAs) - guide
Credit rating agencies (CRAs) are major players in today's financial markets, with rating actions having a direct impact on the actions of investors, borrowers, issuers and governments. For example, a corporate downgrade can have consequences on the capital a bank must hold and a downgrade of sovereign debt makes a country's borrowing more expensive. Despite the adoption of European legislation on credit rating agencies in 2009 and 2010, recent developments in the context of the euro debt crisis have shown our existing regulatory framework is not good enough. So, today the Commission has put forward proposals to toughen that framework further and deal with outstanding weaknesses.
FISCUS programme for taxation and customs 2014-20 - guide
EU Customs and Taxation policy make a substantial contribution in helping to raise revenues for the EU and Member States' budgets every year. In addition, these policies deliver considerable benefits to EU citizens and business, whether it is through blocking unsafe or illegal imports, facilitating smooth trade and a strong Internal Market, or cutting compliance costs and red tape for cross-border companies. In order to build on this work and be fully equipped to meet future challenges in these fields, the European Commission today adopted a proposal for the FISCUS programme. With a budget of EUR 777.6 million, the programme will run for 7 years from January 1 2014.
Proposal for Directive on transparency requirements for listed companies and proposals on country by country reporting - guide
The European Commission has proposed amendments to the existing Directive on transparency requirements for listed companies and to the Directives on accounting rules for annual accounts and consolidated accounts, inter alia to introduce country by country reporting, as part of a Responsible Business Initiative package of measures.
Review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) and Proposals for a Regulation on Market Abuse and for a Directive on Criminal Sanctions for Market Abuse: guide on Emission Allowances
Drawing lessons from the 2008 financial crisis, the G20 agreed at the 2009 Pittsburgh summit on the need to improve the transparency and oversight of less regulated markets – including derivatives markets - and to address the issue of excessive price volatility in commodity derivatives markets. In response to this, the European Commission has today tabled proposals to revise the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). These proposals consist of a Directive and a Regulation and aim to make financial markets more efficient, resilient and transparent, and to strengthen the protection of investors. The new framework will also increase the supervisory powers of regulators and provide clear operating rules for all trading activities. Similar discussions are taking place in the United States and other major global financial centres.
Proposals for a Regulation on Market Abuse and for a Directive on Criminal Sanctions for Market Abuse - guide
In recent years financial markets have become increasingly global, giving rise to new trading platforms and technologies. This unfortunately has also led to new possibilities to manipulate these markets. As part of its work to make financial markets more sound and transparent, the European Commission today adopted a proposal for a Regulation on insider dealing and market manipulation (i.e. market abuse). The proposal aims to update and strengthen the existing framework to ensure market integrity and investor protection provided by the Market Abuse Directive (2003/6/EC). The new framework will ensure regulation keeps pace with market developments, will strengthen the fight against market abuse across commodity and related derivative markets, reinforce the investigative and sanctioning powers of regulators and reduce administrative burdens on small and medium-sized issuers.
OLAF's 2011 Annual Operational Report
OLAF Annual Operational Report 2011 : Investigations resulted in €68 million recovered and fraudsters sentenced to 125 years' imprisonment in 2010
A pilot for Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative - EC legislative proposal - guide
The European Commission has tabled a plan which will fund EUR 50 billion worth of investment to improve Europe's transport, energy and digital networks. The "Connecting Europe Facility" will finance projects which fill the missing links in Europe's energy, transport and digital backbone. To assist with the financing of the Connecting Europe Facility, the Commission has also adopted the terms for the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative which will be one of a number of risk-sharing instruments upon which the facility may draw in order to attract private finance in projects. The pilot phase will start next year.
Cohesion: legislative package of EU regional, employment and social policy for 2014-2020 - guide
Cohesion policy is implemented through programmes which run for the duration of the EU seven-year budget cycle. The current 455 programmes are foreseen until 2013. This is why it is necessary to define the architecture of the policy for the new generation of programmes and allocations for 2014-20. Today’s legislative package includes an overarching regulation setting out common rules governing the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). One set of rules instead of 5. Three specific regulations for the ERDF, the ESF and the Cohesion Fund will also be included, as well as two regulations dealing with the European territorial cooperation goal and the European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC). The Commission also adopted proposals for two instruments in the area of employment and social policy, namely the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) and the Programme for Social Change and Innovation (PSCI), as well as a communication on the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF).
2010 report on European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) - guide
Nearly 23,700 workers dismissed due to economic crisis and major structural changes in world trade patterns were helped by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) last year, according to a report adopted on 22 August by the European Commission – more than double the number of workers helped by the Fund in 2009. The EUR 83.5 million paid out by the EU's Globalisation Fund to nine Member States are intended to help the national authorities as they support dismissed workers in finding new job opportunities.
Access to a basic payment account - guide
According to recent studies, around 30 million consumers over the age of 18 in the European Union do not have a bank account. Out of these 30 million 'unbanked' citizens, it is estimated that between 6 and 7 million do not have a bank account because they have been denied access to one. These individuals cannot currently benefit fully from the Single Market. Today's Recommendation from the European Commission on access to a basic payment account will promote financial and social inclusion for consumers across Europe. The Commission invites Member States to ensure that such accounts become available at a reasonable charge to consumers, regardless of their country of residence in the EU or their financial situation. It will assess the situation in one year's time and propose any further measures as necessary, including legislative measures.
New external public procurement policy - guide
The European Commission is consulting stakeholders in all EU Member States for their views on a new policy on access to the EU's public procurement markets as announced in the Single Market Act of April 2011. An on-line questionnaire was launched today and will be open for contributions until 2 August. Replies will feed into legislation on this issue later this year. The aim is to create increased leverage for negotiating access to the procurement markets of other trading partners. This should help expand business opportunities for EU companies, as outlined in the EU's renewed trade strategy "Trade, Growth and World Affairs" presented in November 2010. In addition, the legislation seeks to establish clear terms of access to the EU's 1,800 billion government procurement market for suppliers from outside the EU. This should bring more legal certainty for both the EU public entities that need goods and services and their prospective international suppliers.
Tougher rules to protect taxpayers' money from fraud - guide
In a policy paper adopted today, the European Commission set out a series of measures enabling prosecutors and judges across the EU to fight fraud against the European Union’s financial interests more effectively. The Commission plans to strengthen substantive criminal law by clarifying definitions of crime such as embezzlement or abuse of power and reinforce the capacities of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and Eurojust (the EU's judicial cooperation body). The EU will also consider how a specialised European Public Prosecutor's Office could apply common rules on fraud and other offenses involving EU funds. The Lisbon Treaty, which reinforced the EU's capacity to combat fraud by giving it the competence to legislate in the area of criminal law, will make these measures possible. Protecting taxpayers’ money is a priority for the Commission. Taxpayers must have the confidence and trust that European Union funds are only used for carrying out policies approved by EU lawmakers. Currently, the tools available for detecting and preventing the misuse of EU funds are sometimes inadequate and insufficient. Member State authorities still face many obstacles that hamper the effective protection of EU money against crime. This happens because there are different rules covering procedures, criminal acts and penalties, harming cross-border anti-fraud investigations and prosecutions.
Corporate governance framework for European companies - EC consultation
One of the lessons of the financial crisis is that corporate governance, until now usually based on self-regulation, was not as effective as it could have been. It is important that companies are better run. If companies are better run, not only is a future crisis less likely but they should also be more competitive. The European Commission has launched today a public consultation that addresses the ways in which corporate governance of European companies can be improved. Corporate governance is traditionally defined as the system by which companies are managed and controlled. The consultation covers a number of issues such as how to improve the diversity and functioning of the boards of directors and the monitoring and enforcement of existing national corporate governance codes, and how to enhance the engagement of shareholders. The deadline for submitting contributions in response to the consultation is 22 July 2011.
Creating a fair single market for mortgage credit - guide
The financial crisis has shown the damage that irresponsible lending and borrowing practices can have on consumers and lenders, as well as the financial system and the economy at large. This is particularly important in today’s integrated EU marketplace. With today's legislative proposal, the European Commission says it is determined to ensure that such practices are not repeated in the future, and to help consumers to regain confidence in the financial system. Borrowers will enjoy a higher level of protection through robust rules concerning advertising, pre-contractual information, advice, creditworthiness assessment, and early repayment. The requirement to provide personalised information to the consumer through a European Standardised Information Sheet will allow consumers to compare mortgage conditions from different providers. The proposed Directive also aims to create a more efficient and competitive single market for mortgages by creating a level playing field for all actors involved and making cross-border activity easier. The proposal now passes to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for consideration.