Mairead McGuinness joined the members of the ECON Committee for her first full hearing of 2022. As the Commissioner pointed out, the workload of the European institutions on financial matters is quite heavy at the moment – with the development of the Capital Markets Union project, the AML package, Sustainable Finance, reviews of several legislations and proposals under preparation. She stressed the European resilience and perseverance in a time where everything is overshadowed by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

MEPs showed concerns about the impact of the recent imposed sanctions to the European economy and financial system. The Commissioner stated that she is aware of the uncertainty and volatility of European economy with commodities, food and energy rising prices, but assured MEPs that the EU is being vigilant and prudent on the impacts to reduce systemic instability. To some accusations of inefficiency of the EU sanctions, the Commissioner made clear that the sanctions’ negative impact in the EU is inevitable but it is in the best interests of the Union.

The Commissioner was asked about the completion of the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union. McGuinness welcomed the progress on the Capital Markets Union, while highlighting that the Banking Union is not as an easy project to reach an agreement on. The completion of the Banking Union is taking longer than the CMU, but she reiterated the Member States willingness to achieve its objectives.

Members wanted to know the position of the Commissioner on the deviations of the EC’s proposal from the Basel framework. She said that the proposed deviations are just temporary and intend to facilitate banks’ work on the adjustments and compliance with the Basel requirements.

She was also asked about how to make the AML provisions on reporting and follow-up notifications more efficient, since there is still a lot of criminal money flowing within the EU. The Commissioner recognised that the proposals might need to be improved and address the problems that are frustrating the banking industry. And she is counting on the European Parliament to do so.

By Helena Freitas in our Brussels Office