Luxembourg EU Presidency sets eyes on digital

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On 1 July, Luxembourg took over the rotating chair of the Presidency of the EU Council for the twelfth time. It follows on the footsteps of the Latvian Presidency, which made significant progress on a number of key financial services dossiers, including reaching an agreement among Member States on the way forward for restructuring the European banking sector. The motto of the Luxembourg Presidency is ‘a Union for the citizens’ and its programme, which aims at implementing the strategic agenda for the European Union adopted by the European Council last year, includes notably better migration management and the promotion of sustainable development.

Of more relevance to financial services, the Luxembourg Presidency will work toward stimulating investment in the EU, to boost growth and employment. Concretely, Luxembourg will oversee the implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and accompany the first steps of the Capital Markets Union, whose action plan is expected towards the end of September. Two concrete legislative proposals will flow from the action plan: an initiative on simple, standard and transparent securitisation and the revision of the Prospectus Directive.

The Luxembourg financial services team will also lead the Council into negotiations with the European Parliament on banking structural reform and the regulation for benchmarks. They will try to break the deadlock among Member States on the controversial discussions around money market funds.

Beyond the traditional domain of financial services, the Luxembourg Presidency will try to revitalise the single market by focusing on its digital dimension. Luxembourg officials believe that Europe must play a role in the global digital revolution and, for that reason, the Luxembourg Presidency will give priority to digital technology in a transversal manner. This is good news for the banking sector, which has a lot to contribute to the debate around digitalisation, notably on issues such as big data, access to online banking services, payments, cyber-security, cyber-technologies, etc.

An EBF delegation led by its CEO Wim Mijs met with Luxembourg Finance Minister, Pierre Gramegna, and his team last June, to exchange views on the Presidency’s priorities and explore possible areas for cooperation over the next six months.

Picture: Serge de Cillia, CEO Luxembourg Bankers Association; Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg Finance Minister; Wim Mijs, EBF CEO.

EBF contact: e.velazquez@ebf-fbe.eu