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A look ahead at the Belgian Presidency

On 2 January 2024, Belgium took over the EU Council Presidency for the first half of 2024. This presidency brings forth key priorities with important implications for the EU financial services sector legislative framework. During Belgium’s presidency, the current EU legislative cycle ends with the EU Parliamentary elections in June 2024.

The main ambitions are firstly to finalise as many legislative files as possible and secondly, to prepare for the future. In its first 6 weeks, the Belgian Presidency focuses on the files which are in the trilogue phase.

Overall priorities:

  • Defending rule of Law, democracy, and unity
  • Strengthening our competitiveness
  • Pursuing a green and just transition
  • Reinforcing our social and health agenda
  • Protecting people and bordersPromoting a global Europe

Economic and Financial Affairs Council priorities: 

  • Union’s economic governance review 
  • Continued financial support to Ukraine 
  • Legislation governing the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union Narrowing the VAT gap 
  • EU own resources 
  • Completing the mid-term review of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and 
  • Revising legislation related to the Customs Code as well as taxation rules for cross-border teleworking 

Financial affairs priorities: 

  • Finalisation of trilogue negotiations before cut-off date 
  • Capital Markets Union (CMU) Retail Investment Strategy 
  • Banking Union Crisis Management and Deposit Insurance
  • Payment's package (PSR/PSD and FIDA) 

As regards financial services and the Banking Union, the first priority of the Belgian Presidency will be to finalise the legislative agenda, with an emphasis on negotiations with the European Parliament to bolster the Capital Markets Union and the Banking Union and to further deepen the internal market. 

As to other initiatives, such as the EU retail investment strategy and the Listing Act, the aim is to strike a balance between strong consumer and investor protection, boost market integrity as well as the financing of the real economy and improve SMEs’ access to capital. The Presidency will also enhance the appeal of EU clearing services without compromising financial stability. 

The investment challenges ahead demand even more for the CMU to be finally consolidated, the aim being to activate private savings and encourage private investments. In addition, the Belgian Presidency will take forward the revision of the Bank Crisis Management and Deposit Insurance (CMDI) framework. This is a milestone towards furthering the Banking Union and reinforcing the banking sector’s role in bolstering Europe’s economic resilience and sustainability. 

In the context of sustainable finance, the Presidency supports the Commission’s plan to streamline reporting requirements for companies across various fields of EU legislation, thereby reducing the reporting burden by 25 percent. The Belgian Presidency will support efforts to enhance the workability of the EU’s sustainable finance framework and ensure accessibility and consistency in its implementation. As already demonstrated with the agreement reached on the Environmental, Social and Governance Rating Regulation. The Presidency will also continue the fight against international and organized crime by advancing efforts to curtail money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

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