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Anti-money laundering - reinforcing the supervisory and regulatory framework

02-09-2019

On the back of a number of high profile cases and alleged cases of money laundering, this briefing presents current initiatives and actions aiming at reinforcing the anti-money laundering supervisory and regulatory framework in the EU. This briefing first outlines (1) the EU supervisory architecture and the respective roles of European and national authorities in applying anti-money laundering legislation that have been further specified in the 5th AML Directive and (2) ways that have been proposed ...

On the back of a number of high profile cases and alleged cases of money laundering, this briefing presents current initiatives and actions aiming at reinforcing the anti-money laundering supervisory and regulatory framework in the EU. This briefing first outlines (1) the EU supervisory architecture and the respective roles of European and national authorities in applying anti-money laundering legislation that have been further specified in the 5th AML Directive and (2) ways that have been proposed to further improve the anti-money laundering supervisory and regulatory frameworks, including the 12 September 2018 Commission’s communication, the changes to the European Supervisory Authority (ESA) Regulation adopted by the co-legislators on the basis of a Commission proposal and the most recent Commission’s state of play of supervisory and regulatory landscapes on anti-money laundering. Some previous AML cases are presented in Annex. This briefing updates an EGOV briefing originally drafted in April 2018. On a more prospective note, this briefing also presents (3) some possible additional reforms to bring about a more integrated AML supervisory architecture in the EU. In that respect, President-elect U. von der Leyen’s political declaration stresses the need for further action without specifying at this stage possible additional supervisory and regulatory developments: “The complexity and sophistication of our financial system has opened the door to new risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. We need better supervision and a comprehensive policy to prevent loopholes.”

Single Resolution Mechanism - Main Features, Oversight and Accountability

16-07-2019

One of the key lessons learned from the financial crisis in 2007-2008 is that in order to reduce the direct and indirect costs of bank failures for national governments, one has to have a credible framework in place to deal with banks’ failures, including clear rules as to the allocation of losses and the conditions attached to the use of common resources, to provide strong incentives for taking measures of precaution in good times and minimise losses in times of crisis. To that end, Europe has put ...

One of the key lessons learned from the financial crisis in 2007-2008 is that in order to reduce the direct and indirect costs of bank failures for national governments, one has to have a credible framework in place to deal with banks’ failures, including clear rules as to the allocation of losses and the conditions attached to the use of common resources, to provide strong incentives for taking measures of precaution in good times and minimise losses in times of crisis. To that end, Europe has put together a framework for resolving banks in difficulties. That framework is the Single Resolution Mechanism, headed by an European agency, the Single Resolution Board (SRB), based on Regulation 806/2014 and comprising all national resolution authorities of the Member States participating in the Banking Union.

Review of the European supervisory authorities (ESAs)

20-12-2017

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, adopted on 20 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). Against the backdrop of the financial crisis and global efforts to safeguard financial stability, in 2011 the EU established three European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) for the supervision of individual banking, investment, insurance ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposal, adopted on 20 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). Against the backdrop of the financial crisis and global efforts to safeguard financial stability, in 2011 the EU established three European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) for the supervision of individual banking, investment, insurance and pension markets: the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). These ESAs also contribute to the development and application of a single rulebook for financial regulation in the European Economic Area. In 2015, in view of further integration of the financial sector, the EU launched the Capital Markets Union, stressing the need to strengthen both regulatory and supervisory convergence. The latter was particularly highlighted in the Five Presidents' 2015 report on completing Europe's economic and monetary union and in a reflection paper of May 2017. In this context, the Commission's 2017 work programme announced the review of the European System of Financial Supervisors (ESFS), which comprises the ESAs and the European Systemic Risk Board. Accordingly, the review of the current ESA regulations addresses the micro-prudential aspects of the continuing financial integration, together with the extension of ESA responsibilities through a number of recent pieces of sectoral legislation, also covered in the IA (IA, pp. 8-9, 25). Finally, the prospect of Brexit – which will entail a relocation of the EBA – further increases the need for the EU27 to strengthen EU-wide convergence of supervisory practices, in order to protect consumers and investors and to promote financial stability. While the ESA regulations are considered to have worked well in general, a first review in 2014 found several shortcomings (IA, p. 9). The IA notes that for specific cross-border activities in particular, the balance between ESA and national supervision is problematic. Also, the considerable divergence between national supervisory practices across the EU makes the current system inconsistent, since the day-to-day supervision of small financial actors remains a national competence, as does the implementation of the cited sectoral regulations involving ESA activities (IA, pp. 20, 142).

Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation

08-11-2017

The European Commission has proposed the revision of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation, to broaden its scope and strengthen the powers of the national authorities cooperating on cross-border EU consumer-law infringements. Three rounds of trilogue negotiations produced a provisional agreement in June 2017, now awaiting a first-reading vote in plenary in November.

The European Commission has proposed the revision of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation, to broaden its scope and strengthen the powers of the national authorities cooperating on cross-border EU consumer-law infringements. Three rounds of trilogue negotiations produced a provisional agreement in June 2017, now awaiting a first-reading vote in plenary in November.

Corruption in the European Union: Prevalence of corruption, and anti-corruption efforts in selected EU Member States

18-09-2017

This study deals with the prevalence of corruption in the EU and describes the action taken to address the problem. It focuses on initiatives and policies implemented by governments at national, regional and local levels in eight selected Member States ranging from north to south and from west to east: Finland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. The perception of corruption among citizens, the legal, institutional and policy framework, as well as some best ...

This study deals with the prevalence of corruption in the EU and describes the action taken to address the problem. It focuses on initiatives and policies implemented by governments at national, regional and local levels in eight selected Member States ranging from north to south and from west to east: Finland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. The perception of corruption among citizens, the legal, institutional and policy framework, as well as some best practices at different levels of government are presented to improve understanding of the context and nature of anti-corruption policies, and to give some positive examples of what can be done.

Potential Concepts for the Future EU-UK Relationship in Financial Services

15-12-2016

This study assesses the key impacts of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on the financial system and its infrastructures, on financial firms and financial services under three alternative concepts for the future EU-UK relationship. In addition to the impact on the ‘passporting rights’ of financial firms, particular emphasis is given to the impact on the regulatory framework governing i.a. credit institutions under a ‘third-country status’ scenario for the UK, the impact on payment ...

This study assesses the key impacts of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on the financial system and its infrastructures, on financial firms and financial services under three alternative concepts for the future EU-UK relationship. In addition to the impact on the ‘passporting rights’ of financial firms, particular emphasis is given to the impact on the regulatory framework governing i.a. credit institutions under a ‘third-country status’ scenario for the UK, the impact on payment systems and market infrastructures, as well as to certain aspects of the EU institutional framework governing the monetary and the financial system could be affected. This study was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the ECON Committee.

The fourth railway package: 'Technical pillar'

25-04-2016

Running a train from one country to another is fairly complex and costly as it requires technical compatibility of different railway systems and infrastructure, as well as a common approach to safety. Despite the noteworthy achievements made by the EU since the late 1980s to harmonise rail systems and to create an integrated EU railway area, improvement is still needed to streamline the procedures and the management of technical systems and rules.

Running a train from one country to another is fairly complex and costly as it requires technical compatibility of different railway systems and infrastructure, as well as a common approach to safety. Despite the noteworthy achievements made by the EU since the late 1980s to harmonise rail systems and to create an integrated EU railway area, improvement is still needed to streamline the procedures and the management of technical systems and rules.

An Academic View on the Role and Powers of National Competition Authorities

19-04-2016

This study provides background on the ‘ECN plus project’ by describing the European Competition Network (ECN) and the role of National Competition Authorities (NCAs). It investigates the decentralisation of the enforcement of EU competition rules and the structure and the cooperation mechanisms of the ECN as well as the experiences with decentralised enforcement and the ECN during the last decade. The ECN has functioned largely successfully as a platform for NCAs' cooperation and the voluntary harmonisation ...

This study provides background on the ‘ECN plus project’ by describing the European Competition Network (ECN) and the role of National Competition Authorities (NCAs). It investigates the decentralisation of the enforcement of EU competition rules and the structure and the cooperation mechanisms of the ECN as well as the experiences with decentralised enforcement and the ECN during the last decade. The ECN has functioned largely successfully as a platform for NCAs' cooperation and the voluntary harmonisation of national procedural rules. However, national regimes still differ in certain aspects, particularly in Member States that follow the judicial enforcement model and/or that impose criminal remedies on breaches of competition rules. This study was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the ECON Committee.

A Practitioner’s View on the Role and Powers of National Competition Authorities

18-04-2016

This study analyses the policy decisions resulting in a reform of EU competition law and establishing a decentralised application of EU completion rules, i.e. the European Competition Network (ECN) and its functions. It compares the institutional set-up, the investigative measures, the fining policy and the leniency programs of national competition authorities (NCAs). This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the ECON Committee.

This study analyses the policy decisions resulting in a reform of EU competition law and establishing a decentralised application of EU completion rules, i.e. the European Competition Network (ECN) and its functions. It compares the institutional set-up, the investigative measures, the fining policy and the leniency programs of national competition authorities (NCAs). This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the ECON Committee.

Regulation 2006/2004 on consumer protection cooperation: Implementation Appraisal

08-04-2016

The CPC Regulation and its objectives (i.e. facilitating cooperation between enforcement authorities; improving the quality and consistency of enforcement; and monitoring and enhancing the protection of consumers' economic interests) remain relevant and valid today. However, the landscape in which consumer protection authorities operate has significantly changed since the adoption of the Regulation in 2004. In particular, and despite its considerable economic and societal benefits, the advent of ...

The CPC Regulation and its objectives (i.e. facilitating cooperation between enforcement authorities; improving the quality and consistency of enforcement; and monitoring and enhancing the protection of consumers' economic interests) remain relevant and valid today. However, the landscape in which consumer protection authorities operate has significantly changed since the adoption of the Regulation in 2004. In particular, and despite its considerable economic and societal benefits, the advent of digitalisation poses new challenges to detect and tackle infringements of consumer protection rules in a timely, effective and efficient manner. For instance, infringements committed simultaneously in several Member States by the same trader cannot be fully addressed under the current CPC Regulation. In addition, a recent external evaluation (2012) and Commission reports (from 2009 to 2014) on the functioning of the CPC Regulation indicate that the original objectives of the Regulation have not been entirely achieved. This is in spite of some very positive developments such as the creation of the CPC Network and a tangible increase in enforcement cooperation between national authorities, as testified by joint initiatives such as the 'sweeps'. Indeed, legal and procedural barriers to effective cross-border cooperation remain in place and, as noted also by the EP, downward pressure on resources allocated to enforcement authorities at MS level hampers the correct and effective implementation of the Regulation. In view of the forthcoming review of the Regulation in 2016, options to include additional minimum investigative and enforcement powers, such as the ability to request penalty payments to recover illicitly obtained gains; an explicit power – under certain conditions – to name infringing traders; and the possibility to carry out 'mystery shopping' exercises, received wide support by stakeholders consulted. Other possible modifications to the CPC Regulation, such as the establishment of common standards to handle infringements and a potential revision of the Commission's role in the CPC Network, raise more complex questions. The various policy options outlined in the Roadmap announcing the revision of the Regulation were still being assessed by the Commission at the time of writing this briefing.

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