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The EESC expresses its firm support for the structural reform of the banking system. It considers the Commission's proposal for a regulation to be a valid and effective response aimed at separating commercial banking activities from investment activities.
The EESC supports and encourages a broad agreement to boost the economy and restore trust in the financial institutions, and calls on the Commission to promote a European Social Pact for Sustainable Finance.
Nevertheless, the EESC believes that the Commission should give greater attention to investors and employees, who have hitherto received little attention in the reform.
Besides, the EESC recommends that oversight activities be carried out in close cooperation and coordination between the EBA and the national authorities, which are well-acquainted with the markets and which will play a key role in managing the new reformed European finance.
The EESC welcomes the Proposal for a Directive presented by the European Commission, through which the Commission is continuing to implement the measures included in the action plan to strengthen the fight against tax fraud and tax evasion. Information on advance tax rulings and advance pricing arrangements is very important and can help the Member States to trace artificial transactions. The EESC recommends that the Member States make efforts to ensure that the provisions of the proposal for a directive are transposed correctly.
The EESC welcomes the Commission's proposals on adapting the European regulatory framework to reflect changes made to international standards on preventing and combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It also approves the inclusion of gambling service providers on the list of professionals subject to requirements and notes that the present proposal contains a certain number of requirements that go beyond international standards. The EESC welcomes the proposal to harmonise the sanctions applicable at European level but has reservations regarding the purely "administrative" nature of the sanctions foreseen.
The opinion deals with European Venture Capital sector, which is closely linked to Europe's global competitiveness. The growth of this sector is an objective of the overall Europe 2020 Strategy and also one of the key priorities of the SME action plan. The EESC welcomes the regulation but draws attention to several limitations, which may weaken the anticipated impact.
The EESC welcomes the proposal put forward by the Commission to introduce the world's first regional financial transaction tax (FTT). The Committee believes that its application at regional level (EU11+ zone) could constitute an exceptional opportunity, which could lead to its future application worldwide. The Committee believes that the introduction of this tax within the EU11+ will foster the establishment of a single financial market. The Committee believes that, in order to maximise the impact of the tax on economic growth, the revenue that it raises should be channelled into a programme of investment at national and EU levels capable of delivering economic recovery and jobs in the short term.
The EESC welcomes the establishment of economic priority programmes for the euro area at the start of the European Semester. To achieve a recovery of growth and employment a mix of financial, taxation, budgetary, economic and social policies is needed. In contrast to the recommendation of the Commission, the focus of fiscal policy should be designed to be more expansionist than neutral. The EESC advocates the reduction of taxation on labour insofar as it does not threaten the financial sustainability of social protection systems. The EESC calls for a coordinated effort to create a more business-friendly environment for SMEs through better regulation, adequate financing and facilitation of exports to markets outside the EU. There is a particular need to open up new funding opportunities for micro-enterprises and start-ups.