Completing the European capital markets union (CMU) has become particularly urgent in order to speed up the bloc's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the European Commission's High Level-Forum has said, as it released its final report on the issue.
The report, released today (10 June), proposed 17 interconnected measures the European Union (EU) needed to urgently implement to remove the biggest barriers in capital markets.
It said a fully-fledged CMU would help rebuild the EU's economy, by "providing new funding sources for businesses and investment opportunities for Europeans."
The capital markets union is a major element of our post-coronavirus recovery strategy."
It added it would be vital for mobilising much-needed long-term investments in new technologies and infrastructure, to tackle climate change and to deliver Europe's "New Green Deal and Digital Agenda."
EC executive vice-president in charge of financial stability, financial services and CMU Valdis Dombrovskis said: "The capital markets union is a major element of our post-coronavirus recovery strategy.
"Savers and investors will play a vital role in getting the economy moving again and they need to have the confidence to invest through capital markets.
"And companies need to be able to access diversified sources of market-based financing anywhere in the EU. The CMU can be a game-changer provided we now make meaningful progress - the High-Level Expert Group has provided valuable input to make this happen.
"The Commission will now carefully consider each of the recommendations ahead of the next CMU Action Plan in early autumn".
Thomas Wieser, chair of the forum, added: "The report does not contain abstract ideas or high level principles that should be achieved. Rather, it has very precise and clear recommendations on what should be done in order to move Europe forward. We emphasise that this is not a menu from which one can order two or three courses, and go home satisfied.
"The 17 clusters of measures are mutually reinforcing, and dependent on each other."
The High Level-Forum is made up of 28 high-level capital markets experts. Between now and 30 June, the EC will seek feedback from stakeholders on today's report.
The European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) said the report took inspiration from previous successes such as as the creation of UCITS.
It added the report "rightly emphasised the need to foster retail investors' participation in capital markets by developing a stronger equity culture in Europe (through the development of second and third-pillar pensions as well as greater financial literacy) and by ensuring that investors benefit from high-quality, reliable and fair advice, so as to promote confidence and trust in the functioning of capital markets."
Director general Tanguy van de Werve said: "Europe needs more than ever a well-functioning CMU to support its economic recovery and provide alternative sources of financing, putting the financial well-being of European citizens at its centre.
"We commend the members of the High-Level Forum for their important contribution to the necessary revitalisation of the CMU project."
He added EFAMA particularly welcomed the forum's call for an urgent review of the PRIIPs regulation and more generally of disclosure rules across legislations, focusing on digital communication.
The organisation said it saw this review as "absolutely necessary to fix a number of significant flaws" in the PRIIPs KID and to avoid jeopardizing the success of the UCITS brand.