On 10 September 2019 the President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced the list of Commissioner-designates and the allocation of their respective portfolios. Under a new structure of the College of Commissioners with its eight Vice-Presidents, the responsibility for DG Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (DG FISMA) will remain with the incumbent Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis. Promoted to one of three Executive Vice-Presidents, alongside Margrethe Vestager and Frans Timmermans, Dombrovskis has been tasked to coordinate work on an “Economy that Works for People”.
More specifically, in her mission letter to Dombrovskis, President-elect von der Leyen set out the objectives for the Executive Vice-President-designate. In respect of financial services and capital markets, those tasks include:
- Completing the Banking Union, including by finalising the common backstop to the Single Resolution Fund and agreeing on a European Deposit Insurance Scheme;
- Acceleration of work towards the completion of a Capital Markets Union, including by tackling barriers to cross-border investments, improving supervisory system and better harmonising insolvency and tax proceedings;
- Developing a green financing strategy, focused on facilitating the transition towards a climate-neutral economy;
- Putting forward a FinTech Strategy to support new digital technologies in the European financial system;
- Developing a private-public fund specialising in initial public offerings for SMEs;
- Developing a comprehensive approach to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing activities, including better enforcement of legislation and better supervision;
- Ensuring a common approach of Member States to cryptocurrencies and addressing any risks they may pose; and
- Developing proposals to ensure that Europe is more resilient to extraterritorial sanctions imposed by third countries, notably by strengthening the Union’s enforcement of its own sanctions regime via its financial system.
In terms of next steps, as the new College of Commissioners needs to obtain the approval of the European Parliament before it can take office, all Commissioner-candidates will have to face hearings in the Parliament’s committees specific to his / her designated portfolio. As such, Dombrovskis will have to appear before the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON). The hearings will take place between 30 September and 8 October 2019. They will be followed by the European Parliament’s plenary vote that is expected to take place during w/c 21 October 2019. Once formally approved by the European Parliament, the new College of Commissioners is expected to take office on 1 November 2019.