On June 13, 2016, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation to provide funding for two financial expertise non-profit organizations: Finance Watch and Better Finance. The Commission initiated at the end of 2011 a pilot project aimed at providing grants to support the development of a financial expertise center to the benefit of consumers and other end-users and to enhance their capacity to participate in EU financial services policy making. As part of these efforts, operating grants were awarded to Finance Watch and Better Finance. Finance Watch seeks to defend the interests of civil society in the financial sector and Better Finance focuses on the interests of consumers, individual investors and shareholders, savers and other end users in the financial sector.

The evaluation of this pilot project concluded that the policy objectives have been generally achieved. However, neither organization managed to attract stable funding from other donors; co-funding from the European Union has been deemed necessary to ensure the organizations’ continue to achieve the desired policy objectives. As such, the proposal establishes a program from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2020 to support the activities of these organizations’. The Program will cover activities relating to research, awareness and advocacy and to support these activities, the proposal provides for a maximum budget of EUR 6,000,000 in the form of action grants awarded on an annual basis. The Commission is obliged to submit an evaluation report no later than twelve months before the end of the Program to the European Council and Parliament, evaluating the Program's overall relevance, added value and effectiveness and efficiency in the achievement of its objectives.

The proposed Regulation must still be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union and be published in the Official Journal before it can enter into force.

The Proposal is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2016/EN/1-2016-388-EN-F1-1.PDF