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Guides on the EU policy on Finance.
New external public procurement policy - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 07 June 2011, 18:03 CET
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 by EUbusiness — last modified 26 May 2011, 17:10 CET
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 by EUbusiness — last modified 05 April 2011, 17:46 CET
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 by EUbusiness — last modified 31 March 2011, 16:27 CET
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.
European corporate tax base - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 17 March 2011, 15:15 CET
The European Commission has proposed a common system for calculating the tax base of businesses operating in the EU. The aim of this proposal is to significantly reduce the administrative burden, compliance costs and legal uncertainties that businesses in the EU currently face in having to comply with up to 27 different national systems for determining their taxable profits. The proposed Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), would mean that companies would benefit from a "one-stop-shop" system for filing their tax returns and would be able to consolidate all the profits and losses they incur across the EU. Member States would maintain their full sovereign right to set their own corporate tax rate. The Commission estimates that, every year, the CCCTB will save businesses across the EU €700 million in reduced compliance costs, and €1.3 billion through consolidation. In addition, businesses looking to expand cross-border will benefit from up to €1 billion in savings. The CCCTB will also make the EU a much more attractive market for foreign investors.
EC Communication on Commodity Markets and Raw Materials - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 02 February 2011, 18:39 CET
Excessive volatility of prices on all major commodity markets occurs at a time when the competitiveness of European industry crucially depends on efficient and secure access to raw materials. Raw materials are vital for the EU's economy and particularly crucial for the development of modern environmentally friendly technologies such as electric cars and photovoltaics. The recent volatility in commodity prices threatens to increase inflation and global raw material markets are becoming increasingly distorted due to protectionist measures. The price fluctuation on the agricultural commodity markets has an impact on farmers, food-makers and consumers, including in the poorest countries. In response to these challenges, the European Commission has presented an integrated strategic vision to tackle challenges in Commodity markets and on Raw materials. The Commission proposes actions to improve the regulation, functioning and transparency of financial and commodity markets. The European Commission also calls for the swift implementation of the Raw Materials Initiative adopted in 2008. The Communication on commodities and raw materials contributes to the Europe 2020 flagship initiative 'A resource-efficient Europe' that was adopted last month.
Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 09 December 2010, 00:59 CET
As part of its work in creating a more transparent and stable financial system, the European Commission has launched a consultation on the review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). In force since November 2007, MiFID provides a comprehensive framework for investment firms offering services in relation to financial instruments, as well as rules to protect investors. It allows trading venues and investment firms to operate freely across the EU. It has increased competition and integration in EU financial markets, and led to significant improvements in investor protection. However, rapid technological advances, the complexity and changing make-up of financial markets and the lessons of the financial crisis call for an extensive review targeted at addressing all of the areas where shortcomings have been revealed or improvements are needed. The purpose of this consultation is to gather input from all stakeholders in order to inform the legislative proposals due in the spring of 2011. The deadline for replies is 2 February 2011.
Preventing abuse in wholesale energy markets - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 08 December 2010, 23:48 CET
The European Commission has today proposed rules on wholesale energy markets to prevent market manipulation and insider trading. The Regulation seeks to ensure market transparency by obliging energy traders to respect clear market rules. Wholesale markets, where gas and electricity is traded between companies producing energy and traders, are key to the prices consumers finally pay.
EU Budget 2011 - main consequences of failure of the conciliation procedure by EUbusiness — last modified 17 November 2010, 23:47 CET
The EU Budget serves European citizens, businesses, researchers, students, rural communities, cities and regions across Europe. The failure of the conciliation procedure in the night of 15-16 November 2010 means that the budget 2011 will not be in place sufficiently in time for ensuring the smooth operation of EU funding programmes and will cause delays in the implementation of new initiatives and the creation of new bodies.
EU framework for Crisis Management in the Financial Sector - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 21 October 2010, 12:17 CET
When problems hit one bank, they can spread to the whole financial sector and well beyond the borders of any one country. The financial crisis also showed that systems were not in place to manage financial institutions facing difficulties. Very few rules exist which determine which actions should be taken by authorities in the case of a banking crisis. That is why the G20 agreed that crisis prevention and crisis management frameworks had to be set up. The European Commission has today responded by setting out its plans for an EU framework for crisis management in the financial sector. These pave the way for legislation due by spring 2011 which will create a comprehensive crisis management framework for banks and investment firms.
e-Procurement - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 21 October 2010, 12:06 CET
The European Commission on 18 October launched a consultation on e-procurement. Taking the form of a Green Paper, the consultation seeks the views of interested parties on how the EU can help Member States to speed up and facilitate the procurement process. E-procurement refers to the use of electronic communication and transaction processing by government institutions and other public sector organisations when buying supplies and services or tendering public works. The Green Paper identifies obstacles to faster take-up of e-procurement as well as the risks that divergent national approaches present for cross-border participation in on-line procurement. It sets out options for overcoming these challenges including, for example, regulatory incentives, standardisation and inter-operability solutions. At the same time, the Commission is also unveiling its new e-CERTIS data base which is a free, web-based tool to help companies and contracting organisations cope with the documentation demands encountered when tendering for public contracts in the EU.
European Commission Green Paper on Audit Policy - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 13 October 2010, 15:47 CET
The European Commission has launched today a broad consultation on the role of statutory audit as well the wider environment within which audits are conducted. In the wake of the financial crisis, we need to ask the question whether the role of auditors can be enhanced to mitigate any new financial risk in the future. The crisis also highlighted certain weaknesses in the audit sector which need to be explored further. This work on audit is part of our effort to learn the lessons from the crisis and reform the financial sector. In particular, the Commission is keen to discuss whether audits provide the right information to all financial actors, whether there are issues around the independence of audit firms, whether there are risks linked to a concentrated market, whether supervision at a European level might be useful and how best the specific needs of small and medium sized businesses may be met. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 8 December 2010.
Financial Sector Taxation - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 07 October 2010, 16:02 CET
The European Commission has set out its ideas for the future taxation of the financial sector. Working on the basis that the financial sector needs to make a fair contribution to public finances, and that governments urgently need new sources of revenue in the current economic climate, the Commission puts forward a two pronged approach. At global level, the Commission supports the idea of a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), which could help fund international challenges such as development or climate change. At EU level, the Commission recommends that a Financial Activities Tax (FAT) would be the preferable option. If carefully designed and implemented, an EU FAT could generate significant revenues and help to ensure greater stability of financial markets, without posing undue risk to EU competitiveness. The Commission will present these ideas to the European Council at the end of October and to the G20 Summit in November.
Economic governance package (3): Chronology and overview of the new framework of surveillance and enforcement by EUbusiness — last modified 29 September 2010, 13:45 CET
The global economic and financial crises, followed by the so-called debt crisis, exposed the need for reinforced economic governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Economic policies need to be better coordinated and surveillance enhanced. The strategic elements of such a reinforced approach were outlined in the Commission's Communication of 12 May and a concrete toolbox was presented in a second Communication on 30 June. The Commission adopted today a package of legislative proposals transforming these policy initiatives into concrete legal instruments.
Economic governance package (2): Preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances by EUbusiness — last modified 29 September 2010, 13:40 CET
The global economic and financial crises, followed by the so-called debt crisis, exposed the need for reinforced economic governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Economic policies need to be better coordinated, says the European Commission, and surveillance enhanced. The strategic elements of such a reinforced approach were outlined in the Commission's Communication of 12 May and a concrete toolbox was presented in a second Communication on 30 June. The Commission adopted today a package of legislative proposals transforming these policy initiatives into concrete legal instruments.
Economic governance package (1): Strengthening the Stability and Growth Pact by EUbusiness — last modified 29 September 2010, 13:33 CET
The European Commission has today adopted a legislative package containing the most comprehensive reinforcement of economic governance in the EU and the euro area since the launch of the Economic and Monetary Union. Broader and enhanced surveillance of fiscal policies, but also macroeconomic policies and structural reforms is sought in the light of the shortcomings of the existing legislation. New enforcement mechanisms are foreseen for non-compliant Member States. The recently agreed "European semester" will integrate all revised and new surveillance processes into a comprehensive and effective economic policy framework.
Proposal for a Regulation on Short Selling and Credit Default Swaps - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 15 September 2010, 14:30 CET
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a regulation on short selling and certain aspects of Credit Default Swaps (CDS). Its main objectives are to create a harmonised framework for coordinated action at European level, increase transparency and reduce risks. The new framework will mean regulators – national and European - have clear powers to act when necessary, whilst preventing market fragmentation and ensuring the smooth functioning of the internal market.
Solvency II Quantitative Impact Study (QIS5) - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 23 August 2010, 23:57 CET
The Solvency II Directive, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2009 and to be implemented by 1 January 2013, has set the framework for the next generation of supervisory rules for insurance and reinsurance companies in the EU. As the rules of the Solvency II Directive are to be complemented by so-called “level 2” implementing measures, which will be adopted by the European Commission, sound and extensive empirical data for quantitative solvency requirements are needed. For this reason, the Commission has launched a fifth Quantitative Impact Study (QIS5) that will be run by the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) from August to November 2010. The Commission strongly encourages insurance and reinsurance companies across the EU to participate in this exercise.
Revision of the Financial Conglomerates Directive - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 16 August 2010, 15:30 CET
In August 2010 the European Commission proposed to amend existing European rules on the supervision of financial conglomerates.
Contraband and counterfeit cigarettes - guide by EUbusiness — last modified 15 July 2010, 22:43 CET
The European Commission has announced a multi-year agreement with British American Tobacco (BAT) to work together in tackling the illicit trade in tobacco products. Under the legally binding agreement, BAT will work with the Commission, its anti-fraud office OLAF, and EU Member States' law enforcement authorities to help in the fight against contraband and counterfeit cigarettes. The Agreement includes substantial payments by BAT to the Commission and Member States, totalling USD 200 million (EUR 134 million) over the next 20 years. It should make a significant contribution to the EU’s efforts to fight the illicit tobacco trade, which robs the EU and Member States of billions of euros every year.