Sven Giegold

ECB gets a carte blanche on clearing and payment systems

Today, the European Parliament adopted an amendment to Article 22 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and of the European Central Bank, which confers to the ECB regulatory powers over clearing systems. In 2009, the G20 agreed to clear all standardised over-the-counter derivatives through a central counterparty. Brexit threatens to place significant volumes of euro-denominated transactions in London outside direct EU legislation although a significant disturbance affecting a major UK CCP could lead to a severe decrease in liquidity within the euro area affecting seriously monetary policy. Therefore, a clarification of ECB powers was uncontroversial. The controversy between Greens and the grand coalition rapporteurs and the Liberals was on the proper delimitation of powers conferred and on accountability rules. Christian-Democrats (EPP), Social-Democrats (S&D) and Liberals (ALDE) voted in favour, Greens and Italian Five Star Movement voted against.

With today’s decision, Parliament and Council are ready for a trilogue but have to wait for Council to find a common approach on this. Council indicated that its approach on Article 22 ECB-Statue will be taken together with one on European market infrastructure regulation (EMIR) 2.2 regarding supervision of central counterparties. This is expected for November.


MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:

“Open ended powers do not fit with the independence of the ECB. A proper delimitation of powers between the co-legislators Parliament and Council on the one side and the independent ECB as regulator on the other remains important. To safeguard the balance between institutions, the powers conferred to the Eurosystem should be strictly limited to areas that are of direct relevance to the conduct of monetary policy. The new powers conferred to the ECB should be exercised in a manner which fully respects and is fully consistent with the Union legislative acts. In our view a closed list of powers instead of an open list as proposed by the co-rapporteurs should be conferred upon the ECB.

With big power comes big responsibility. We deplore that rapporteurs rejected the Green proposal to demand from the ECB to adopt rules on public and stakeholder consultation. Nevertheless, the central bankers are free to commit themselves to follow the European best practice. This should include for the widest possible participation, also via internet, and publication of results.”



Greens/EFA had submitted an amendment on stakeholder consultations proposing an additional recital:

The ECB should adopt rules on public and stakeholder consultation and feedback by in analogy to those provided for in paragraph 19 of the inter-institutional agreement on better law making when exercising regulatory powers committing the ECB, before adopting a proposal, to conduct public consultations in an open and transparent way, and ensuring that the modalities and time-limits of those public consultations allow for the widest possible participation to encourage the direct involvement of a broad range of stakeholders in such consultations, including public internet-based consultations, to communicate the results of such public and stakeholder consultations without delay to the Commission, the Parliament and the Council and to publish them.


For the closed list of powers conferred to the ECB, Greens/EFA had proposed to add in the respective recital this text:

Those tasks should relate to areas that are of relevance to the conduct of monetary policy and be limited to requirements allowing to monitor the activities of the clearing system, such as reporting requirements or requirements relevant for assessing the risks and the resilience of the system to adverse market conditions. They can also include specific requirements which fully respects and are fully consistent with EU legislative acts necessary to address situations in which a clearing system for financial instruments poses an imminent risk of substantial harm to Union financial institutions, critical Union markets, or the broader financial system of the Union limited to liquidity, settlement, collateral, interoperability and margin requirements imposed on the basis of provisional measures related to systemic liquidity risks, with a view in particular to facilitate the transmission of monetary policy and the smooth functioning of payment systems.

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