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Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Paolo Gentiloni - Economy

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

Single-limb collective action clauses: A short introduction

05-07-2019

Sovereign bonds, the most common form of sovereign debt, have specific characteristics. They are issued by national debt management offices on the primary market and subsequently traded on secondary markets. Loan agreements signed at the issuance of sovereign bonds on the primary market may include collective action clauses (CACs) aimed at making restructuring more orderly and predictable. CACs have been included in loan agreements and bond contracts since the 1990s. These clauses enable a 'supermajority ...

Sovereign bonds, the most common form of sovereign debt, have specific characteristics. They are issued by national debt management offices on the primary market and subsequently traded on secondary markets. Loan agreements signed at the issuance of sovereign bonds on the primary market may include collective action clauses (CACs) aimed at making restructuring more orderly and predictable. CACs have been included in loan agreements and bond contracts since the 1990s. These clauses enable a 'supermajority' of creditors to modify essential payment terms of the contract, thus overcoming the problem posed by holdout creditors. Indeed, while debt restructuring involves benefits for both debtor countries and their creditors, there are also incentives for both parties to delay the process. Certain creditors, for instance, are tempted to hold out, and are therefore referred to as holdout creditors. Their incentive for holding out is the chance that they might recover their investment either in full or in a higher amount than the debtor country has offered in the restructuring agreement. While a holdout can bring creditors great gains, it has significant negative consequences for debtor countries and, in the worst case, can jeopardise the restructuring process. CACs can have one or two 'limbs'. While the EU Member States that are in the euro area decided in 2011 to include two-limb CACs in sovereign debt issued after 2013, the Greek restructuring experience and recent New York court decisions relative to sovereign debt have shown that such CACs can protect sovereign debtors only up to a certain point. Therefore, in the context of the euro-area governance reform, the Eurogroup has proposed that euro-area leaders should work for the introduction of single-limb CACs by 2022, and included this commitment in the draft revised text of the European Stability Mechanism Treaty.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Economic policy

28-06-2019

In the European Union (EU), although economic policy falls within the remit of each Member State, there is, nevertheless, multilateral coordination of economic policies between individual countries. The global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis put this framework severely to the test. Partly as a result, recovery in the EU was slower than recovery in the United States, and was not achieved equally by all Member States. Furthermore, it has to a large extent been based on accommodative ...

In the European Union (EU), although economic policy falls within the remit of each Member State, there is, nevertheless, multilateral coordination of economic policies between individual countries. The global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis put this framework severely to the test. Partly as a result, recovery in the EU was slower than recovery in the United States, and was not achieved equally by all Member States. Furthermore, it has to a large extent been based on accommodative fiscal and monetary policies that only partly hide underlying signs of fiscal or financial fragility in some countries. To remedy this, the European institutions began a twofold process in 2011: initiatives were taken to strengthen the current framework for economic governance and banking supervision in the euro area while, in parallel, discussions began on possible ways to reduce the economic divergences between Member States, provide incentives for risk reduction and risk-sharing, render the governance process more transparent and ensure democratic accountability. In this latter area, several initiatives – that did not require changes to the EU Treaties – were taken between 2015 and 2017. In summer 2017, discussions on deepening the policy framework for economic and monetary union (EMU) intensified. This process, which was advocated in the Five Presidents' Report (the presidents of the main EU institutions) and should be completed by 2025, is now being considered at Member State level. The current state of play points towards two main policy preferences, dividing Member States into two groups: those that prioritise risk-sharing measures (such as France), and those that argue instead for further risk-reduction initiatives (for example, Germany). This lack of consensus has so far meant that the European Council has not been able to reach a breakthrough. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Cross-border distribution of investment funds

11-04-2019

Investment funds are products created to pool investors' capital and to invest it in a collective portfolio of securities. The characteristics of a range of different types of investment funds have been established in Union law, and most funds on the market are categorised as one of these types. The market in the EU is smaller than in the United States, despite there being far more funds in the EU. This is why the European Commission has adopted two legislative proposals: one for a regulation aligning ...

Investment funds are products created to pool investors' capital and to invest it in a collective portfolio of securities. The characteristics of a range of different types of investment funds have been established in Union law, and most funds on the market are categorised as one of these types. The market in the EU is smaller than in the United States, despite there being far more funds in the EU. This is why the European Commission has adopted two legislative proposals: one for a regulation aligning national requirements for marketing funds and regulatory fees and harmonising the process and requirements for the verification of marketing material by national competent authorities, and the other for a directive harmonising the conditions under which investment funds may exit a national market and allowing European asset managers to engage in pre-marketing activities. Following trilogue negotiations, provisional agreements were reached on 5 February 2019. Parliament is expected to vote on those during the April II 2019 plenary session.

Covered bonds: Issue and supervision, exposures

10-04-2019

The Commission has proposed a directive and a regulation to create a unified European framework for covered bonds. Parliament is due to vote in April on the texts agreed in interinstitutional negotiations.

The Commission has proposed a directive and a regulation to create a unified European framework for covered bonds. Parliament is due to vote in April on the texts agreed in interinstitutional negotiations.

The InvestEU programme: Continuing EFSI in the next MFF

09-04-2019

Since its launch in November 2014, the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE) has had considerable success in mobilising private investment across Europe. Despite its success, investment levels in Europe remain below pre-crisis levels. There is therefore a need to provide for an extended EU investment programme under the new multiannual financial framework (MFF), which caters for multiple objectives in terms of simplification, flexibility, synergies and coherence across relevant EU policies. The InvestEU ...

Since its launch in November 2014, the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE) has had considerable success in mobilising private investment across Europe. Despite its success, investment levels in Europe remain below pre-crisis levels. There is therefore a need to provide for an extended EU investment programme under the new multiannual financial framework (MFF), which caters for multiple objectives in terms of simplification, flexibility, synergies and coherence across relevant EU policies. The InvestEU programme, expected to run from 2021 onwards, has been designed to address this challenge. It will bring diverse EU financial instruments within a single structure, making EU funding for investment projects in Europe simpler and more efficient and flexible. It will build on the success achieved by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and consist of the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. Negotiators for Parliament and Council have reached a partial agreement on the text of the proposal, excluding budgetary figures and other elements which will not be finalised until overall agreement on the new MFF. Parliament is due to vote on that agreement in April 2019.

Central counterparty recovery and resolution

20-03-2019

The important role played by central counterparties in financial markets, and their systemic relevance, has grown following the financial crisis. This, however, has drawn regulators’ attention to the absence of harmonised rules for situations where such counterparties themselves might be sources of systemic risk, due to operational difficulties or outright failure. To address this, the Commission proposed a regulation on which Parliament is due to vote during the March II plenary session, in order ...

The important role played by central counterparties in financial markets, and their systemic relevance, has grown following the financial crisis. This, however, has drawn regulators’ attention to the absence of harmonised rules for situations where such counterparties themselves might be sources of systemic risk, due to operational difficulties or outright failure. To address this, the Commission proposed a regulation on which Parliament is due to vote during the March II plenary session, in order to conclude its first reading before the end of the term.

Covered bonds – Issue and supervision, exposures

25-02-2019

Covered bonds are debt securities issued by credit institutions and secured by a pool of mortgage loans or credit towards the public sector. They are characterised further by the double protection offered to bondholders, the segregation of assets in their cover pool, over-collateralisation, and their strict supervisory frameworks. Currently, their issuance is concentrated in five Member States. National regulatory regimes vary widely in terms of supervision and composition of the cover pool. Lastly ...

Covered bonds are debt securities issued by credit institutions and secured by a pool of mortgage loans or credit towards the public sector. They are characterised further by the double protection offered to bondholders, the segregation of assets in their cover pool, over-collateralisation, and their strict supervisory frameworks. Currently, their issuance is concentrated in five Member States. National regulatory regimes vary widely in terms of supervision and composition of the cover pool. Lastly, despite benefiting from preferential treatment under the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR), they share no common definition, which can lead to different securities benefiting from this treatment. To remedy this, the Commission has adopted proposals for, on the one hand, a directive, which would lay down investor protection rules and provide common definitions, and on the other, a regulation, which would amend the CRR with regard to covered bond exposures. In November 2018, Parliament and Council both adopted their respective negotiating positions. The file is currently the subject of trilogue negotiations. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Review of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR): Updated rules on supervision of central counterparties (CCPs)

18-02-2019

The increasing importance of central counterparties (CCPs) and challenges such as the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU call for a more comprehensive supervision of CCPs in EU and non-EU countries to secure financial market infrastructure and build confidence. In June 2017, the Commission proposed amendments to Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 (ESMA – European Securities and Markets Authority) and Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 (EMIR – European Market Infrastructure), to strengthen the regulatory ...

The increasing importance of central counterparties (CCPs) and challenges such as the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU call for a more comprehensive supervision of CCPs in EU and non-EU countries to secure financial market infrastructure and build confidence. In June 2017, the Commission proposed amendments to Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 (ESMA – European Securities and Markets Authority) and Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 (EMIR – European Market Infrastructure), to strengthen the regulatory framework: EU CCPs would be supervised by national authorities in agreement with ESMA, and third-country CCPs subject to different requirements depending on whether (or not) they are systemically important. The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) adopted its report in May 2018, and the Council agreed its position in November. Trilogue negotiations are now under way.

Economic and Budgetary Outlook for the European Union 2019

30-01-2019

This EPRS study, the third in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the Union and euro area, and their two-year trends. The figures show that growth was moderate in 2018, at 2.1 %, although this is expected to deteriorate slightly in the coming months, given the poorer global outlook than a year ago. That said, unemployment is at a post-crisis low, and is expected to improve further, given ...

This EPRS study, the third in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the Union and euro area, and their two-year trends. The figures show that growth was moderate in 2018, at 2.1 %, although this is expected to deteriorate slightly in the coming months, given the poorer global outlook than a year ago. That said, unemployment is at a post-crisis low, and is expected to improve further, given positive labour market conditions. The study explains the annual EU budget, providing an overview of its headings for 2019, with the total amounting to €165.8 billion (or around 1 % of EU gross national income). The budget focuses on priorities that include stimulating investment, growth and research, the creation of new jobs – especially for young people – and addressing migration and security challenges. The wider budgetary framework – the multiannual financial framework (MFF) – is also analysed in the study, with key decisions on spending for the 2021-2027 period due to be taken during 2019. In this year's edition, the special 'economic focus' offers a bird's eye view of SMEs and SME policy in Europe, and of various recent EU-level initiatives in this field. The EU budget devotes particular attention to SMEs, given their central role in the European economy and in job creation. The EU needs to continue devoting efforts to improving European SMEs' access to finance, since despite recent improvements, they are still too heavily reliant on debt financing which puts them at risk in a downturn.

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