Hill back on the ECON stand

UK Commissioner-designate convinces MEPs the second time around.

By Dods EU monitoring

08 Oct 2014

Please note that this does not constitute a formal record of the proceedings of the meeting. It is dependent on interpretation and acts as an unofficial summary of the debate

On October 7 2014 the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs held its second hearing with Commissioner-designate for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union Jonathan Hill following his recall. The MEPs were for the most part receptive to the UK candidate, although the Greens-EFA MEPs continued to question his independence and previous work experience. For the most part, the hearing focused on specific financial services regulation and especially the plans for a capital markets union.

Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT) opened the hearing, noting that the Commissioner-designate had replied to additional written questions. This second hearing should focus on the issues raised in the written questions.

Commissioner-designate Jonathan Hill began by saying that when he said that he was looking forward to seeing the Committee again, he forgot that it is important to be careful what you wish for. He asked the Committee to imagine that it is 2019 and the Juncker Commission is coming to an end. What would be the message to be given to voters on what has been achieved? The big picture should be that the EU has returned to growth, unemployment is falling and the dislocation of the Southern Members is coming to an end. The EU is stronger and more cohesive and remains a family of 28 Member states. Financial stability has been renewed and banking union introduced. The Euro is taking increasing prominence as a global currency. Trust and confidence between the ins and outs is based on the single rulebook and no bank is too big to fail. Banks have a stronger balance sheet and are lending to the real economy again. Citizens trust the banks as their deposits are safe, The ECB has been recognised as a supervisor of the highest quality and safe new products at lower costs are available to consumers in the financial sector. The capital markets union is emerging and the right framework for a well regulated transparent liquid capital market has emerged. Europe is proud of its financial regulatory system that prevents excessive risk and provides capital. There is also global cooperation on regulation and standards. SMEs now have access to credit based on their merit and not where they are.

Moving back to 2014, he said that there will be bumps in the road ahead. It is possible to be optimistic about the future. If the EU works together and holds its course a more resilient and stable financial services industry can be built that delivers finance for consumers and long-term growth. The work of Commissioner Barnier has to be continued. From November 1st, he pledged to be a European Commissioner for all 28 Member states.

Pablo Zalba Bidegain (EPP, ES) asked about the target of access to finance for SMEs. The Capital Markets Union (CMU) is a way to achieve this and he asked how this would be done. He then asked about TTIP and whether financial services would be included.

Jonathan Hill said that financial services should be included in TTIP. With regards to CMU, he said that this is a real challenge and an exciting prospect. The overall aim should be confidence and protection for investors and the free flow of capital. To do this, there needs to be a single market for European financial instruments, the deepening of the single rulebook and the use of the current supervisory framework. Concerning SMEs, he called for the rapid adoption of the ELTIF proposal, an examination of the prospectus directive and the creation of SME growth markets under MiFID II.

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