A new start for Europe?
The new European Parliament has started to settle during summer. The expectations on a high turnout in this year’s EU elections were greater than usual with more debates in media with politicians and experts giving their views on all the complex issues at stake in Europe. Unfortunately, the turnout instead ended up being record low. Only 42,54 % of population in the European Union used their right to vote in the European elections.
Despite the low turnout, the European Parliament has begun its work and in July all the committees were put in place. We are of course happy to see several Nordic Members of Parliament in the powerful Economic and Financial Committee (ECON). Through ECON, the Parliament shapes its regulation related to the financial sectors, and it is through our good contacts in ECON that NFU can continue to have an influence on issues that are important for financial employees in the Nordic countries.
The newly elected politicians will have big topics on their hands such as insurance mediation, bank separation, institutions for occupational retirement and long term financing of the European economy. In addition, shadow banking might also become a topic for regulation during this mandate.
‘Growth’ is on everyone’s lips in Brussels right now and it will also be one of the main goals for the European Commission these coming five years. The new President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker’s manifesto promises that his focus for the Union will be Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change.
But before Juncker can start promoting growth in Europe he has to form his Commission. Juncker is currently busy deciding who gets what post in the Commission. Even though it’s the Member States that nominate their candidates to the Commissioner posts, it has already created headache for the new President as there is a serious lack of nominated women. So far, only five out of 28 nominees to the Commission are women. To compensate if that would be the case, Juncker has said that he will give the most important portfolios to the female commissioners.
Word on the street is that Juncker might propose a new Commissioner post in charge only of financial affairs. That would mean that financial services would be transferred from the Commissioner for Internal Market to its own directorate. This is so far only a rumor but would of course have an impact on the many stakeholders in financial affairs. Will the new Commissioner, either for Internal Market or Finance, continue proposing new legislation for the financial sector or will the focus shift to implementation and supervision? In September, we will know more of the composition of the new Commission and what its priorities will be.
Ella Sjödin, Head of EU Affairs