European Commission Publishes Financial Services Priorities for 2019

The European Commission (“EC”) has published its work programme for 2019 which covers a variety of areas including financial services. No new measures have been introduced in the work programme and instead the EC is focusing on existing financial services priorities.  These include proposals to deepen the Capital Markets Union (“CMU”) covering areas such as the pan-European personal pension product, cross-border distribution of investment funds, proportionate and more effective rules for investment firms, amendments to the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (“EMIR”) as well as various anti-money laundering measures.

Priority Pending Proposals

The work programme comprises a political communication and five annexes.

Annex III contains a number of priority pending proposals in relation to which the EC wants the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to take swift action.  These include measures introduced as part of the CMU concerning the cross-border distribution of investment funds, crowdfunding, covered bonds, amendments to EMIR, the pan-European personal pension product, issues relating to the European Supervisory Authorities and measures regarding requirements and supervision of investment firms. 

They also include measures relating to sovereign bond-backed securities and credit servicers, credit purchasers and the recovery of collateral along with the various measures in the so-called “Banking Package”, proposals for the recovery and resolution of central counterparties, the European Deposit Insurance Scheme and various anti-money laundering measures.  The EC states that swift agreement must be reached on these anti-money laundering measures in light of recent serious revelations of money laundering in the financial sector. 

Priority measures on consumer protection along with proposals for directives relating to the use of financial and other information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal offences and combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment are also contained in Annex III.

REFIT Initiatives

REFIT is the EC’s regulatory fitness and performance programme. The purpose of REFIT is to review existing EU legislation to ensure it remains fit for purpose and delivers its intended results.

For 2019, REFIT initiatives for financial services will focus on cross-sectoral reporting requirements to supervisory authorities stemming from financial services legislation such as the Capital Requirements Directive and Regulation, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation and EMIR. 

In addition, the EC will carry out a fitness check of corporate reporting requirements which will include the Accounting Directive, Non-financial Reporting Directive, the Transparency Directive and the International Accounting Standards Regulation. The EC will also evaluate Directive 2008/48/EC and Directive 2002/65/EC, examining the functioning of the consumer credit market and the distance marketing and selling of retail financial services.


In 2019, the EC intends to repeal Directive 2001/34/EC on the admission of securities to official stock exchange listing and on information to be published on those securities, as most of the requirements of this Directive are now covered by Directive 2013/50/EU (the amended Transparency Directive) and in the Prospectus Regulation.

This document has been prepared by McCann FitzGerald LLP for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters discussed.