The European Parliament and financial supervision reform 

 
 

This note is intended to help journalists to cover Parliament's plenary vote on financial supervision, which marks the end of a ten-year reform campaign that gained impetus from the financial crisis, and began making real headway in 2009. We include a timeline of key events illustrating Parliament's efforts to convince EU Member States of the need for radical, not cosmetic, reform. The new system should be up and running on 1 January 2011.

A decade-old goal


Long before the financial crisis, the European Parliament regularly pointed out  significant failures in the EU’s supervision of ever more integrated financial markets.  Most notably, in 2000, a resolution highlighted the fact that the activities of stateless financial groups were calling into question the traditional structure of supervision. In 2002, another resolution called for a system to be set up at EU level to monitor systemic risk.  Then, in 2008, MEPs called for supervisory committees to be given a legal status and enabled to impose binding decisions on national supervisors.


The rapporteurs for the current package, were chosen in October 2009 and presented their draft reports to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in February 2010.  Four rapporteurs [1] piloted the preparation of Parliament’s position on the four different bodies to be set up, whilst another three rapporteurs [2] took responsibility for the package's more technical aspects.


EP rapporteurs on the need for radical reform of financial supervision in the EU


The rapporteurs point out that financial supervision needs to be better integrated within Europe, because the only other option is to have a less open single market.  They also argue that the structure that existed during the crisis led to fragmented responses and prevented a clear picture from emerging for the supervisory committees.  For these reasons, they consider that tinkering with the current system would not be the right solution and that a root and branch reform is needed necessary.


July 2010 MEPs' statement - Parliament pushes for an ambitious agreement


"MEPs have just voted in plenary on amendments to the texts setting up the EU's new supervisory architecture, tabled by the four main political groups (EPP, S&D, ALDE, Greens). The EP has decided not to vote on a legislative resolution in order to leave open the possibility of a first reading after the summer recess.


The message is clear: Parliament is willing to negotiate, but it is united in its view that the European authorities must be equipped with sufficient powers to prevent future crises and to strengthen the Single Market. The ball is now firmly in the Council's court to come forward with the necessary compromises.
                                     
This gesture is a final endeavour on the part of the rapporteurs to help the new Belgian Presidency - whose efforts to date we applaud - to move the Member States to a more satisfactory position.


Since voting on a text in the EP's economics committee in May, Parliament's rapporteurs have taken part in around 20 trilogues with Council and Commission. Significant - but not sufficient - advances have been made. Critically, we require that the new supervisory architecture be in keeping with the vision laid out in the De Larosière report. Europe's citizens will accept nothing less than the most ambitious response from lawmakers to correct the problems.


Parliament stands ready to reach an agreement with Council. This is why we did not vote on a first reading, and why we will keep the process open. But in case the Council does not show the commitment and willingness needed within the weeks to come, Parliament is ready to do vote on a first reading after the summer break. We feel that progress is being made and agree to allow more time for the Council to move towards a position that reflects the needs of European citizens. Today's actions reflect our expectation of such a move in the coming days and weeks. It's a question of European credibility on a global level and in the eyes of European citizens hit by the crisis".


December 2009 EP political groups statement - Parliament will not agree to water down supervisory authorities


"The four coordinators for the EPP, S&D, ALDE and Greens political groups believe that the negotiations of the ECOFIN Council on the micro-supervision of the financial sector are going in the wrong direction.


The European Parliament, as co-legislator on this topic, will play its full role in respect of the following principles:


- The European citizens are awaiting effective measures to prevent new crises.


- A single European market needs European supervision. Businesses need credit, a true level playing field and legal certainty.


- The de Larosière report, on which the foundation of the Commission's proposal is based, proposes a European Systemic Risk Board in charge of macroeconomic supervision close to the auspices of the European Central Bank, as well as independent authorities, which should be equipped with binding and proportionate powers concerning micro supervision.


This report was already the result of a compromise and the link between macroeconomic and microeconomic must be preserved within the most coherent European framework possible".



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[1] Sylvie Goulard (ALDE, FR) for the European Systemic Risk Board, Peter Skinner (S&D, UK) for the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, Jose-Manuel Garcia Margallo Y Marfil (EPP, ES) for the European Banking Authority, and Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA, DE) for the European Securities and Markets Authority.


[2] Ramon Tremosa I Balcells (ALDE, ES) for the Specific Tasks of the ECB in the ESRB, Antolin Sanchez Presedo (S&D, ES) and Burhard Balz (EPP, DE) for the two omnibus amending directives