4. Concluding thoughts (for now)
“No Member State nor group of Member States can manage the current crisis, Brexit and the recovery, alone.”
“The structural changes imposed by Brexit could exacerbate the weaknesses of EU financial structures and – if not timely addressed – the competitiveness of the overall EU economy. ”
“Mastering and leading digitalisation is critical for the EU to be competitive at the global level. This is another element of Capital Markets Union, part of the EU’s Digital Agenda.”
“Capital Markets Union is vital to attain sustainable growth in the EU. Only sustainability can ensure prosperity in the longer run. Capital Markets Union is needed to deliver the EU New Green Deal.”
“The EU needs now rapid and bold measures to tackle these immediate challenges.”
Inevitably, the HLF report is somewhat overshadowed by recent events, including evolving Brexit and global pandemic challenges. However, it also very much forward-looking and ambitious in scope, containing a series of interlinked CMU transformations: plotting Europe’s journey to a climate-neutral society, outlining a digitalisation of the financial sector while managing a transitioning of its legislative framework (i.e. moving from regionally customised Directives to uniformly-supervised Regulations).
While there are many referrals of the need for EU capital markets and infrastructure to become more “competitive” and “efficient”, there is also a bold pitch to directly engage EU citizens with CMU measures to achieve greater social inclusion and reduce inequality to “…empower the EU to build an economy that serves its citizens fairly”.
If these are to be attainable, the EU Institutions (Commission, Parliament and Council of member states) must secure political backing (“timely, full and unwavering”) as a matter of “critical” importance.
The EC has now pledged to “carefully consider each of the recommendations” ahead of issuing their next five year CMU Action Plan in early autumn 2020. Considering the Capital Markets Union’s difficult inception period and those substantial challenges it continues to face, the forceful opening statements of its leaders above strongly indicate the Commission is not inclined to set aside any of the HLF’s key proposals over the next few months.