Today, the EU’s economic and finance ministers will decide during the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) whether to separate the anti-money laundering part from the rest of the legislative package to revise the European system of financial supervision. If they take this decision, ministers will conclude the money laundering part of the interinstitutional dialogue quickly. On the other hand, discussions on the rest of the package, including powers, governance and funding of the European Supervisory Authorities, are merely to be continued. The legislative package includes the Regulations of the three European Supervisory Authorities (European Banking Authority, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and European Securities and Markets Authority, or ESAs for short), several pieces of financial sector legislation and the Regulation of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). At the beginning of January, the European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on the package as a whole and signalled its willingness to open and conclude negotiations on all aspects in a timely manner. The timetable for the interinstitutional negotiations is tight, as an agreement must be reached before the end of the parliamentary term in May 2019 in order to avoid a significant delay and reopening after the European elections. If the Council decides today to split the money laundering part from the rest, there is a risk that no agreement will be reached on the competences, governance and funding of European Supervisory Authorities before the European elections.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“Today, European economic and finance ministers must finally manage to find a position on the entire legislative package to revise the European system of financial supervision. The split of the money laundering part from the overall proposal is neither necessary nor sensible. Already in December, the Council had the opportunity to adopt a common position on the basis of an Austrian compromise. The arbitrary split of the file shortly before an agreement between the member states contradicts the sincere cooperation between the European institutions. Better rules to combat money laundering are worth little without strengthening the competences, independence and resources of the European watchdogs at the same time. This is the only way to ensure that the rules are equally applied and enforced throughout Europe.
The German government has been on the brakes of the reform of European financial supervision in the Council for too long and is jointly responsible for the partial failure today. Germany is entering into an unholy alliance with the countries with lax financial supervision on the subject of European financial supervision and is thus once again taking position against France. In view of today’s signing of the Aachen Treaty on Franco-German cooperation, this is a tragedy. Those who support the Capital Markets Union like Germany must not block stronger European financial supervisors. Germany thereby puts its credibility at risk. France’s blockade of the Austrian compromise was a well-intentioned attempt in favour of a stronger Council position. Ultimately however, France’s strategy for stronger governance of the ESAs did not work out, so that we might end up without no progress at all.
By separating the file, the Council risks the failure of the whole legislative package. Parliament will hardly accept the castration of its own position. With this strategy, the Council risks to prevent consumers and businesses from benefiting from a stronger European system of financial supervision in the near future.”
Link to the negotiating position of the European Parliament: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2019-0013&language=EN
Link to the Council’s position on the money laundering part: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-15569-2018-ADD-1/en/pdf