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The financial crisis and irresponsible lending have caused an increase in defaults and foreclosures as borrowers have found their loans increasingly unaffordable.The focus of this proposal is to ensure that all consumers purchasing a property or taking out a loan secured by their home are adequately protected against the risks. The opinion is of particular interest for financial professions involved in mortgage credit activities as well as citizens facing such kind of operation.
The Committee supports the Commission proposal to improve the regulation of rating agencies in order to further eradicate major shortcomings in transparency, independence, conflict of interest, and the quality of procedures used in making ratings. The dependence on these ratings should also be reduced, according to the Committee. Insider trading and market abuse damage confidence in the integrity of the markets, which is an essential prerequisite for a functional capital market. The EESC welcomes the fact that the Commission, with a new proposal, is responding to changing market conditions and is seeking to update the framework created by the market abuse directive.
The Committee considers transparency essential as it is important for all parties, for the companies themselves, and for improving their image and boosting the trust of workers, consumers and investors. While the EESC recognises that most companies operating in the EU are indeed transparent and that investors and shareholders are increasingly paying attention to qualitative corporate social responsibility (CSR) indicators, it is important to focus simultaneously on both the effectiveness and scope of the information being filed and on its quality and veracity. The EESC believes that any further initiative on disclosure of information should include a common set of indicators and at the same time should take into consideration the nature of the company and the sector in which it is operating.
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 opinion makes a contribution to analysis and proposals on an issue that the European institutions should deal with more energy, cohesion and above all with a clear and definite will to eradicate the phenomenon.
The proposal for an EU financial transaction tax seeks to change the short term oriented behaviour of financial actors whilst at the same time providing an own resource to the budget of the European Union that could considerably reduce the contributions by Member States based on their gross national income (GNI). The second initiative is in line with the treaties and wants the EU- budged be to a higher extent be financed by own resources. This would also put an end to the ongoing "juste retour" discussions that jeopardises the European project. The EESC welcomes these two Commission initiatives.