Banking and insurance are evolving. Insurance companies and banks are at the forefront of the development of the digital economy. The very nature of their activities lends itself to the intensive use of the new technologies. In a highly competitive framework marked by a keener pursuit of competitiveness, insurance companies and banks have become part of an ongoing drive for innovation.
The EESC very much welcomes the Commission’s package of proposals and hopes that it will contribute effectively to complementing the work done after the crisis to reform the financial sector. The Committee welcomes the underlying holistic and integrated approach and believes that the proposed measures will undoubtedly help strengthen Europe’s prudential and resolution framework for banks. The Committee also these proposals will enable progress to be made not only in further advancing the Banking Union, but also in implementing its third pillar, the European Deposit Insurance Scheme and that certain specific adjustments in the proposals should facilitate the pursuit of a Capital Markets Union.
The EESC appreciates the European Commission's effort to apply an economic policy that focuses on supporting the strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the euro area as well as a balanced mix of monetary, fiscal and structural instruments in order to achieve this, including a positive fiscal stance.
Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 requires the production of key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products. It will be directly applicable as of 31 December 2016. In view of the exceptional circumstances that have delayed the adoption of the delegated regulation, due to the rejection of the European Parliament, the Commission proposes postponing the application of regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 by 12 months in order to reduce legal uncertainty and allow the PRIIP manufacturers more time to prepare for the application of the new rules.
The EESC strongly endorses the Commission's initiative to extend the duration and increase the financing of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and welcomes the positive results of the first year and considers the SME "investment window" a success. The Committee recommend that EFSI 2.0 should aim for ever greater involvement of private capital; stresses the importance of keeping a market-driven emphasis, reinforcing the additionality of the EFSI and calls for a more balanced geographically coverage across the EU. The EESC also recommends bolstering the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) and the reinforcement of the social dimension of EFSI deployment. It is also in favour of using the EFSI to nurture the development of a shared industrial and dual technology base in the European defence sector. Finally, in the view of the Committee it is important to raise the visibility of EFSI funding.
The EESC welcomes and supports the Commission's initiative to anticipate the review of the Regulations on European venture capital funds (EuVECA) and European social entrepreneurship funds (EuSEF). The EESC believes that such a regulation can promote the establishment of a capital markets union. The EESC suggests that in order to expand participation in such investment funds, the hitherto very restrictive access criteria, as well as other restrictive conditions, to be significantly relaxed; the Committee proposes to increase the involvement of non-institutional investors and considers it equally important to create an environment in which the financing objectives of social investment funds can develop.
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.