On 18 February 2015, the European Commission published a Green Paper seeking views from interested parties on the most effective approach to creating a single market for capital in the European Union.

Background

The intention behind the initiative is to find ways of linking investors and savers with growth. The Commission aims to put in the place the building blocks of a Capital Markets Union (CMU) in the EU through the following measures:

  • Removing legal and supervisory barriers to cross-border funding
  • Harmonising costs of investing and access to investment products across the EU
  • Facilitating easy access to financing for small and medium enterprises in particular

Priorities for early action

Review of the Prospectus Directive

The Commission intends to review the current Prospectus regime to make it easier for SMEs to raise capital throughout the EU.

Widening the investor base for SMEs

The Commission intends to improve the availability of credit information on SMEs to attract funding from the broader investor base of non-bank funding.

Building sustainable securitisation

The Commission intends to develop an EU framework for high-quality securitisation with a view to:

  • Restarting securitisation markets on a more sustainable basis
  • Allowing for risk transfers to a broad set of institutional investors as well as banks
  • Protecting investors and avoiding systemic risk

The Commission published a separate consultation paper, alongside the Green Paper, on the current functioning of European securitisation markets and how it can be improved.

Boosting long term investment

The Commission is also seeking views on how to bolster the European long term investment (ELTIF) regime, with a view to strengthening long-term investment in member states.

Developing European private placement markets

The Commission seeks view on whether action by the EU is needed to support the development of private placement markets other than supporting market-led efforts to agree common standards.

Medium / long-term initiatives

The Commission is also seeking views on the actions necessary to achieve the following objectives:

Access to finance

The Commission believes easier access to finance is needed for SMEs, start-ups and mid-sized firms and is therefore seeking feedback on how to increase access to finance for these entities.

Sources of funding

The Commission seeks views on measures to increase investments in EU capital markets from institutional, retail and international investors.

Market effectiveness

Comments are sought on ways to improve the functioning of the investment chain including the implementation and enforcement of the single rulebook, and whether targeted measures in the areas of company, insolvency, securities, and tax law could materially contribute to CMU.

The questions covered in the Green Paper are not exhaustive and the Commission welcomes further views on topics not covered.

Next steps

The Commission will organise workshops to engage with all interested parties during the consultation period, which is due to close on 13 May 2015. Based on the feedback received, the Commission plans to put in place a five year action plan later in 2015.