On 11 June 2020, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) issued a public statement to clarify the application of the MiFIR open access provisions for trading venues and central counterparties (CCPs) in light of the recent adverse developments related to COVID-19.

ESMA has issued this public statement to inform the market that Member State competent authorities (NCAs) are expected to take into consideration, to the extent relevant, the adverse developments arising from the COVID-19 pandemic when taking decisions on open access requests. In particular, considering the limited two-month timeframe provided by MiFIR for NCAs to assess access requests, it may be challenging for NCAs to soundly assess whether an open access request may threaten the smooth and orderly functioning of the markets, or adversely affect systemic risk in the current market circumstances.

ESMA expects CCPs and trading venues to have the necessary operational capacity to process access requests once the exceptional market circumstances have cleared up.