On 19 October 2020 the European Commission published its Work Programme for 2021. The Work Programme, titled ‘A Union of vitality in a world of fragility’, is the second one published by the Von der Leyen Commission. The Work Programme provides an overview of the legislative priorities of the Commission for the upcoming year, as well as a timeline on when legislative initiatives are intended to be published. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission tailored its activities for 2021 to support the economic recovery. A large part of this recovery should be a “green recovery”, focused on new economic growth paired with a substantive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

With regard to financial services, the Commission is planning a large number of new initiatives in the upcoming year. Please note that a large number of these initiatives have already been announced in the September 2020 Capital Markets Union action plan:

  • Before the end of this year, the Commission will publish its proposal amending the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR II) and Directive (CRD V) to implement the final Basel III standards in EU law.
  • In Q1 2021, the Commission will present its legislative package on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing. It is understood that this will entail turning the Fifth Anti-money Laundering Directive (AMLD V) into a directly applicable Regulation, and transfer more competences to the European Banking Authority in the field of anti-money laundering.
  • 2021 will be an important year for the MiFID II and MiFIR review. In Q1 2021, the Commission will propose to amend the MiFID II and MiFIR framework to strengthen the EU investment protection and facilitation framework. During Q4 2021, the framework will be reviewed more extensively, with the Commission reviewing the administrative burden and information requirements for a subset of retail investors and will review investor categorisation more generally. The Commission is also considering introducing a certification requirement for investment advisors and an effective and comprehensive EU-wide consolidated tape for equity and equity-like financial instruments.
  • In Q2 2021, the Commission will conduct a targeted review of the Central Securities Depositories Regulation ((EU 909/2014) (CSDR), focusing on the cross-border provision of services and the basis of passports and authorisation procedures, and conditions under which central securities depositories are authorised to designate banks or themselves to provide banking-type ancillary services. The Commission is currently consulting Member States on their views on the upcoming review and will launch a public consultation in the beginning of 2021.
  • On the topic of sustainable finance, the Commission intends to publish its proposal establishing an EU green bond standard in Q2 2021. During the same period, a proposal on sustainable corporate governance is expected.
  • The Commission will review the current legislative framework for the recovery and resolution of banks (BRRD II) in Q4 2021.