European Single Access Point (ESAP) - Related Opinions
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EU companies rely excessively on banking financing and are highly indebted. This own-initiative opinion proposes the development of a highly subordinated instrument at EU level that boosts the recapitalisation of EU firms. This would be a secure and easy-to-implement solution for SMEs, that would improve their financial position and promote investment without increasing leverage.
The EESC welcomes the new action plan on Capital Markets Union (CMU) and approves all of the 16 actions proposed by the Commission, but stresses the importance of prioritising and coordinating the initiatives (with concrete milestones to measure progress), emphasises those that it deems most essential and makes targeted complementary proposals. The EESC argues for two key priorities: 1) to improve the efficiency of the CMU by creating the European Single Access point, by applying a single rule-book and by simplifying withholding tax relief at source procedures and 2) implement proposals aimed at facilitating a shift long-term savings towards long-term investments.
The EESC considers that in addressing the challenges and risks associated with digital transformation, regulation for technology providers, protecting consumers, granting access to financial services, operational resilience and security of network and information systems are crucial for creating the Digital Single Market for financial services. As concerns crypto assets, the EESC endorses the various regulatory adjustment measures envisaged which are needed to modernise financial services, without losing sight of consumer protection and prudential rules.
The EESC strongly supports the Commission's proposal – Next Generation EU – as a specific tool for a quick and effective recovery.
The EESC takes a very positive view of the Commission's two main decisions:
- to introduce an extraordinary financial recovery instrument as part of the multiannual financial framework
- to raise common debt, which will be repaid over a long period of time, and prevent the extraordinary financial burden from falling directly on the Member States in the short run.
The EESC strongly welcomes the fact that the newly proposed instrument should be closely coordinated with the European Semester process, and furthermore welcomes the Commission's proposal to introduce additional genuine own resources based on different taxes (revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System, digital taxation, large companies' revenues).
Although considerable progress has already been made towards completing EMU, there is still a need to significantly reinforce all four of its pillars, taking care to maintain the balance between them, as neglecting one or more of these pillars could result in dangerous disparities. Resilience to crises is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for completing EMU: it also requires a positive vision, as set out in Article 3 of the EU Treaty. The EESC generally calls on the European institutions and national governments to take much more ambitious action in the context of EMU reform in order to achieve a more integrated, more democratic and socially better developed Union.
The EESC supports the Commission's Action Plan on financing sustainable growth, aimed at reorienting capital flows towards sustainable investment, and welcomes the legislative proposals stemming from it, on fiduciary duties, a taxonomy and benchmarks. The proposed gradual approach for its implementation, beginning with the work on a European sustainability taxonomy, is preferable. However, a subsequent extension of the initial taxonomy, based on environmental aspects, to social sustainability and governance goals will be necessary. Attention should be paid to the feasibility and proportionality of legal obligations.
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.
As the recovery of Europe's economies remains sluggish and fragile and the level of investment remains low, it should be a matter of priority to deploy every possible means to achieve a robust and stable economy. The Committee therefore endorses the goals of the action plan i.e. to mobilise capital in Europe and channel it to all companies, infrastructure and long-term projects. The Committee has serious concerns, however, regarding the relevance and effectiveness of the capital markets union for SMEs. They must be able to choose the funding channels that suit them best. At the same time the EU's economic and financial stability should be one of the priorities of the capital markets union. There should thus be more simplification, transparency and comparability of financial instruments.
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