The EESC is of the opinion that building economic resilience, an objective that underlies the recommendations of the European Commission on the economic policy of the euro area, is of the utmost importance for the euro area economies. However, the Committee would like to stress that the pursuit of economic resilience should go hand in hand with increased labour market resilience, that is, the capacity of labour markets to weather shocks with limited social costs.
The EESC welcomes the fact that the package of regulations on the future multiannual financial framework includes the InvestEU proposal to strengthen investment activity in the EU, including long-term investment projects that are of high public interest, while also respecting the sustainable development criteria. In order to guarantee that this programme operates successfully, the Committee underlines the importance of the involvement of civil society organisations and social and economic partners. The EESC appreciates the European Commission's efforts to create an umbrella financial instrument by the InvestEU programme that will result in unified management, enhanced transparency and potential for synergies. The EESC appreciates the fact that, in addition to promoting sustainable infrastructure, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research and innovation, the InvestEU programme also focuses on social investment and skills.
The EESC welcomes these proposals on sovereign bond-backed securities (SBBSs), which fit into the broader context of completing the Banking Union and building a Capital Markets Union (CMU). Moreover, the proposals also have the potential to make a positive contribution to financial stability and resilience. The EESC has been strongly advocating a weakening of the link between banks and their home countries ("sovereigns") and therefore welcomes that SBBSs aim to contribute to this. The EESC considers that in conceptual terms, the idea of SBBSs is an attractive one and feels that the only way to find out whether banks will switch from bonds from their home countries to SBBSs for their investments and whether investors will be prepared to buy "junior" tranches in sufficient quantities to justify the creation of SBBSs, is to test this new financial instrument - the SBBS - on the market.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals as they can contribute to the various goals of the Commission, such as creating a single and integrated regulatory framework for investment firms, building stronger capital markets to promote investment, unblock existing and provide new sources of financing for companies and households, attracting investment firms to the EU after the Brexit and strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union. The EESC is pleased that SMEs are expected to be among the main beneficiaries of the Directive and the Regulation. The EESC welcomes the fact that the proposals establish the necessary norms and requirements for initial capital and existing capital, supervisory powers, publication and remuneration. These proposals could therefore contribute to risk reduction in the EU. Finally, the EESC highlights the importance to ensure the flexibility of the legal framework for investments firms.
The EESC welcomes the new set of measures proposed by the European Commission to complete the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and move towards an optimal monetary zone. The EESC supports the various proposed goals for reinforcing the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) and the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM). The EESC welcomes that the present communication provides scope for a broader discussion and for a phased approach to implementing the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS) and underlines the importance not to lose momentum in implementing the Banking Union. Finally, the EESC reiterates its commitment to a diverse financial ecosystem in which the large pan-European players coexist with small and medium-sized banks and other non-banking entities that focus reliably on the financing of the real economy on an equal footing, in an environment of much reduced systemic risk.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals that are a new, important step in the efforts to achieve greater integration and convergence by increasing integrated supervision and provide new building blocks for the realisation of the Capital Markets Union (CMU) in the EU. A smoothly operating CMU can make an important contribution to private, cross-border risk-sharing. The challenge is to find the right balance between the competences of national and European supervisors and, where possible, to apply the subsidiarity and proportionality principles. Keeping the future in mind, new developments and modern technologies, such as FinTech, as well as more sustainable financing, in line with international activities and agreements should be reflected in the system of supervision. Close attention should be paid to costs for the supervision. Where part of the costs is directly borne by the private sector, care should be taken to exercise budgetary discipline and avoid duplication.
With this opinion the EESC welcomes the Commission's initiative to prioritise the fight against cybercrime, as it aims to protect Europeans and businesses from cybercrime networks, and includes measures to boost confidence in the use of electronic payment instruments. The EESC is of the view that the benefits of digitisation must be flanked by mechanisms able to meet the accompanying challenges, so that the European economy and Europeans can enjoy the information society to the full. For the EESC it is important to establish deterrents and mechanisms to inform the public about the modus operandi of offenders as well, through awareness-raising campaigns conducted by law enforcement authorities in the Member States.
The EESC notes that although economic recovery in the euro area has gathered pace since last year, it remains incomplete and atypical. It disagrees with the European Commission's proposal for an overall broadly neutral fiscal stance and instead proposes a positive fiscal stance of around 0.5% of GDP. It welcomes structural reforms that will not only increase productivity and growth potential, but also support the creation of quality jobs and reduce inequality. It supports the necessary steps for deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), as well as the measures against tax fraud and tax avoidance.
The EESC is in favour of creating a Pan-European personal pension product – PEPP but is unclear as to whether the investment arising from this initiative will remain within the EU and on the impact on labour mobility across the EU. Every effort, by way of tax relief, should be provided to encourage as many workers as possible to take up personal pension products. The EESC emphasises the need for consumer protection and risk mitigation for savers during the course of their working lives and on retirement. The EESC also underlines the importance of the role of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) in monitoring the market and national supervisory regimes with a view to achieving convergence and consistency across the EU especially regarding the governance structure for PEPPs within any provider.
This opinion is part of a wider package of four EESC opinions on the future of the European economy (Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union and Euro area economic policy, Capital Markets Union and The future of EU finances). The package of opinions underscores the need for a common sense of purpose in the Union governance, which goes far beyond technical approaches and measures, and is first and foremost a matter of political will and a common perspective. The EESC is strongly in favour of the Capital Markets Union (CMU) and finds it absolutely necessary that the CMU becomes a reality in all EU Member States and calls for the political will at European level and in the Member States to make all necessary efforts and to establish all of the relevant conditions required.