NFU News

NFU victories in Brussels

The last few years NFU has worked intensely on influencing EU. And we have been successful! The intensified lobbying and networking now pay off in terms of clear foot prints in the legislative process. We see results on issues such as training, sales targets, whistle-blowing and employee representation. This is a quick summary of the NFU victories in Brussels 2011-2012. Click here if you want to read or download this text as pdf.

Are you in doubt about a word? Check our EU Dictionary. Do you want to know more about the EU decision making process? Find an introduction here.

 

Main victories

 

<bold>– 12 of 13 NFU amendments to the new Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV) were adopted by the ECON committee in the European Parliament in mid-May 2012.

– 7 of 10 of the changes to MiFID proposed by NFU have been adopted by the ECON committee in June 2012.

– NFU has long argued for the importance of whistle-blowing systems. Now it is included in several new EU Commission proposals.

– NFU’s amendments to the Market Abuse Directive and Regulation have been put forward by Members of the European Parliament.

– NFU played an important role to steer the proposals for taxing the financial sector away from a tax on financial activities (FAT).

– NFU’s proposals to change the Directive on responsible lending (CARRP) have been largely successful.

– NFU has provided extensive input to reports by Members of the European Parliament in issues such as sales and advice, basic bank accounts, and corporate governance.

– Since January 2011 NFU has had more than 40 lobby meetings and answered 20 EU Commission consultations. On top of that we are in constant contact with key decision makers.</bold>

Read more about the NFU victories below.

 

New Capital Requirements Directive include NFU standpoints

 

In July 2011, the EU Commission tabled a proposal for a revised Capital Requirements Directive, the so-called CRD IV. First of all, already in the EU Commission proposal some of NFU’s points of view have been included. We have presented our viewpoints to the EU Commission both in writing and in meetings, and the result is a new formulation of the articles regarding wage structures and bonuses. This is a large step forwards

compared with the old formulations in CRD III, and it takes into account all the concerns that NFU raised regarding CRD III.

Second, NFU has succeeded in making important changes to the CRD IV in the European Parliament. Through cooperation with a Member of the European Parliament NFU has put forward changes to CRD IV. The changes concern protection and anonymity for whistle-blowers, sanctions and employee representation in management bodies. 12 of 13 amendments by NFU went through when the ECON committee in the EU Parliament met in mid-May 2012.

Read more about CRD IV and the NFU standpoints here.

 

NFU changes to MiFID adopted

 

Also on MiFID, NFU has cooperated with Members of the European Parliament (MEP’s), and we have convinced politicians from different political sides to cooperate on our issues. One MEP from the liberal group and one from the social democratic group have both tabled NFU’s proposed changes to MiFID. This is a rather unique achievement.

The amendments concern training, whistle-blowing and protection for whistle-blowers, sales targets, employee representation in management bodies, sanctions and other issues. Out of 10 NFU amendments, 7 have

been adopted by the ECON committee. The European Parliament will take its final decision in the beginning of July 2012.

Read more about MiFID and the NFU standpoints here.

 

Whistle-blowing in several EU proposals

 

During 2011, the EU Commission came forward with a number of directive proposals suggesting to introduce whistle-blowing structures. Whistle-blowing is included in the proposed changes on MiFID and CRD IV and in the Market Abuse Regulation. NFU has advocated strongly for this for several years both towards the EU Commission and within UNI Europa Finance to keep it high on the agenda. Now we are happy to see the results of our efforts.

 

NFU changes to Market Abuse Directive and Regulation put forward

 

Two Members of the European Parliament, one Swedish and one British, have in April and May 2012 tabled NFU’s proposed changes to the Market Abuse Directive and Regulation. The changes concern whistle-blowing and protection for whistle-blowers, sanctions and the right for trade union representatives to share information to union colleagues without breaching insider rules.

 

NFU impact on discussions about financial taxation

 

NFU, in close cooperation with affiliates, has also made a significant impact on the discussions on financial taxation. Early in the process in the EU Commission, everything pointed in the direction of a Financial Activities Tax (FAT). After the consultation, with an important and thorough contribution from NFU against the FAT, the EU Commission gave up all plans of introducing it. NFU played an important role to steer the proposals for taxing the financial sector away from a tax on financial activities.

 

NFU footprints in proposal on responsible lending

 

In spring of 2011, the EU Commission tabled a proposal for a Directive on responsible mortgage lending (CARRP). The proposal included measures to introduce competence requirements for finance employees, which is a clear footprint of NFU lobbying together with UNI Europa Finance.

Furthermore, NFU has proposed additional amendments to the proposal as it passes through the European Parliament. We have pointed out that wages is not an issue for the EU but for trade unions and employers. This view was adopted and advocated for by members of the European Parliament. Several MEPs have also in 2012 taken on board NFU’s amendment proposal regarding balanced sales targets and competence development for employees. These proposals have been supported by the ECON committee in the European Parliament.

 

Other NFU achievements

 

In the beginning of 2011, NFU co-wrote a European Parliament initiative for a Member of the European Parliament on sales practices in the financial sector, which is yet to be tabled.

NFU also played an important role in raising the concerns about the composition of the European Supervisory Authorities  stakeholder groups and worked together  with European consumer organisation BEUC and UNI Europa Finance to address the issue with the EU Commission and the European Supervisory Authorithies.

In June 2012, the European Parliament voted in support for NFU’s proposed changes regarding Basic Bank Accounts, namely that the employees should be given adequate training and that conflicts of interests must be handled.

NFU has also played a key role in putting the employee perspective in the European Parliament initiative report “A corporate governance framework for European companies” 2011/2181(INI). The NFU position on corporate governance has been an important source of inspiration for the rapporteur drafting the report in the Parliament.

 

How do we do it?

 

NFU has a strong EU network that is in constant development. We have a handful of very close contacts in Brussels with whom we work continuously on various issues. Recently, we have also broadened our network based on an analysis of who would be influential and useful to work with. Finance Watch is a crucial source of contacts and information, and we use this forum actively.

During 2011 and the first half of 2012 we have had more than 40 lobby meetings, including 22 with Members of the European Parliament or their assistants, 7 with the EU Commission and 15 with Finance Watch and other stakeholders. We also give formal written input to the EU Commission, in the form of consultation replies. Since January 2012 we have answered 20 consultations, and a few more are in the pipe line.

NFU works in parallel to lobby the Commission, the Parliament and the Council. This increases the chance that our proposals will make it to the end and be adopted in the final legislation. However, in the lobbying of the Council, NFU relies on the member unions to contact the national governments. We will intensify the coordination of this in the second half of 2012.

 

NFU lobby efforts pays off

 

To sum up the situation, NFU has had a real break-through in its Brussels lobbying. The past few years of intensified lobbying and networking now pays off in terms of clear foot prints in the legislative process. We also experience a break-through in our lobbying of the Council of Ministers, i.e. the national governments. Due to an intensive effort of some NFU member unions, important footprints have been made to the Council text on Market Abuse, which means we are in a much better position to get it through the final negotiations.

As a fruit of the NFU efforts, we see result on issues such as training, sales targets, whistle-blowing and employee representation. However, the legislative acts are not yet finally adopted. They still have to be negotiated between the EU Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Follow this link to read more about the decision making process and how NFU influences EU decisions.

 

Related news

2024.05.02 | NFU News
2 maj, 2024

NFU and Partners Held Dynamic Panel Events in April to Foster Dialogue Ahead of the European Election

In the wake of the upcoming European Parliament election scheduled for 6-9 June, the need for candidates who persistently uphold democratic values has never been more pronounced. Recognising the gravity of this electoral moment, Nordic Financial Unions, in collaboration with its partners, embarked on a mission to highlight and raise awareness surrounding the EU elections.
Read more