Leaseurope: European Commission 2021 Work Programme
In questo numero (in inglese): una panoramica degli aggiornamenti normativi, il nuovo Programma di lavoro della CE per il 2021, le regole di AI stabilite dal PE e dal voto del Consiglio sui ricorsi dei consumatori.
EU UPDATES & INDUSTRY TRENDS
EUROPEAN COMMISSION 2021 WORK PROGRAMME
The Commission’s new 2021 Work Programme sees a shift from strategy to delivery around the following six headline ambitions: European Green Deal; A Europe fit for the digital age; An economy that works for people; A stronger Europe in the world; Promoting our European way of life; and A new push for European democracy. These goals will be achieved through NextGenerationEU, the historic recovery plan presented by the Commission along with a revamped long-term budget. NextGenerationEU’s €750 billion of funding will focus on sustainable investment and reforms, with 37% of the Recovery and Resilience Facility earmarked for green transition spending and a minimum 20% to be invested in digital. Almost a third of this will be raised through green bonds. You can find more information here.
The Commission’s ‘’services package’’, a proposal for a European services e-card and related administrative facilities aimed at enhancing the free provision of services in the Single Market, will be withdrawn as the prospect of finding a compromise without jeopardising the objectives of the proposals are unlikely. Instead, the Commission will take measures to ensure the full enforcement of the existing Services Directive.
COMMISSION POSTPONES SUSTAINABLE FINANCE STRATEGY TO 2021
The renewed Sustainable Finance strategy is intended to provide a roadmap with new actions to increase private investment in sustainable projects and to manage and integrate climate and environmental risks into the financial system. The initiative will also provide additional enabling frameworks for the European Green Deal Investment Plan. The adoption of this Strategy was planned for the third quarter of 2020 and postponed to the fourth quarter of 2020 in their adjusted 2020 Work Programme. The Commission has now confirmed that this postponement will be extended to 2021.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AGREES ON FIRST SET OF RULES FOR AI
The European Parliament has set recommendations for AI rules on ethics, liability and intellectual property rights, which should be included in the Commission’s legal framework expected early next year. This will outline the ethical principles and legal obligations when developing, deploying and using artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies in the EU including software, algorithms and data. A second legislative initiative calls for a future-oriented civil liability framework, making those operating high-risk AI strictly liable for any resulting damage. Finally, a report highlights the importance of an effective intellectual property rights system (IPR) and safeguards for the EU’s patent system to protect innovative developers. You can read more details here.
COLLECTIVE REDRESS FOR CONSUMERS ADOPTED BY COUNCIL
The Council recently adopted its position at first reading on a draft directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers within the EU. The directive requires member states to put in place a system of representative actions for the protection of consumers’ collective interests against infringements of Union law. It covers actions for both injunctions and redress measures. It empowers qualified entities designated as such by member states to seek injunctions and/or redress, including compensation or replacement, on behalf of a group of consumers that has been harmed by a trader who has allegedly infringed one of the EU legal acts set out in the annex to the directive. These legal acts cover areas such as financial services, travel and tourism, energy, health, telecommunications and data protection. The European Parliament should approve the Council’s position before the end of the year. The directive will then be deemed to have been formally adopted. You can read more here.
LEASEUROPE FINALISES PROPOSAL FOR A RISK WEIGHT DISCOUNT FOR LEASING
Following our engagements with the Cabinets of Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Transport Commissioner Adina-Ioana Vălean, we were requested to draft specific criteria based on the credit risk mitigation framework, in order to enable leasing exposures to benefit from a risk weight discount under the upcoming CRR III.
To prepare our proposal, we established a targeted group of industry experts before the summer break to help the Secretariat draft a legislative proposal for movable leasing exposures to qualify for a risk weight discount under the standardised approach. The experts of the group represent leasing companies with operations across most of the EU, covering all types of movable assets (e.g. automotive, equipment and machinery) and different business types (e.g. credit institutions and captives). The University of Cologne also participated within the group.
Following numerous discussions and technical work with this group, we have finalized a proposal which is flexible enough to be fulfilled by lessors whilst providing regulators with strong criteria to ensure only secured and sound leasing exposures will qualify, as requested by the European Commission. This proposal has been approved by the Prudential Supervision Committee and the Leaseurope Board.
LEASEUROPE PROPOSAL ON BASEL IV SHARED WITH KEY EUROPEAN POLICY MAKERS
Leaseurope’s proposal to reduce capital requirements for leasing has been shared with the relevant European Commissioners’ Cabinets, including the team of Ms. Mairead McGuinness, who is the new Commissioner for Financial Services. In addition, it has been shared with key officials at DG FISMA, including Nathalie Berger, who is the Head of Unit in Charge of Basel IV within the European Commission. The proposal has been well received and we are now awaiting their feedback. We have shared our proposal with key MEPs as well, with the view of obtaining the support of the European Parliament. We expect that the European Commission will publish a proposal on the European implementation of the finalisation of Basel III (Basel IV) in the first semester of 2021. After the proposal is published, around two years of negotiations are expected.
LEASEUROPE JOINS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS IN RESPONSE TO NEW ACCOUNTING STANDARD FOR SMEs
Leaseurope spearheaded a joint response with the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association in the US and the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association, calling on the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to carry out a full analysis of costs and benefits before applying the principles of the new lease accounting rules, IFRS 16, to the IASB’s accounting standard for small and medium-sized businesses, IFRS for SMEs. The joint response highlights that IFRS 16 was designed for use by large companies and it should not be assumed that similar rules will be suitable or proportionate for SMEs. IFRS for SMEs is not approved for use in Europe, however, there is strong evidence that European national standard setters pay close attention to these rules when thinking about new versions of their own SME accounting rules. Read our press release here.
REMAINING CONSUMER ISSUES FOR CAR RENTAL INTERMEDIARIES ADDRESSED WITH COMMISSION
After Leaseurope’s engagement with the European Commission to address remaining consumer issues in car rental intermediaries, they confirmed that they are following up with this identified issue in a recent meeting with us. A study is being conducted by their Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) for which Leaseurope has been interviewed. The study has the following three objectives: mapping the landscape of car rental intermediaries in Europe, assessing the relationship between car rental and intermediaries and checking whether they comply with EU consumer rules. The aim of the study is to publish information useful to national enforcement authorities and to reinforce coordination within the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network so that intermediaries would commit to the same transparency standards as outlined in Leaseurope’s car rental guidelines, which were negotiated on behalf of the industry. This especially concerns the way they present the total booking price, the terms and conditions, and extra services (especially insurance waivers) to consumers. The study is expected to be released at the beginning of 2021.
DIGITAL FINANCE SUMMIT
On 24 November, the Digital Finance Summit is taking place online, focusing on the ever-increasing digitalisation of the finance industry. Panels speakers will discuss numerous topics covering banking, technology, insurance and the world after COVID-19. You can access the agenda and register here.
SME FINANCE IN THE 2020s
On 24 November, the European Banking Federation is hosting a webinar on how SME financing will develop in the challenging years ahead of 2020 and will identify how banks can appropriately handle the challenges and opportunities in relation to data, technology, policy and regulations. You can find more info and register here.
CORPORATE MOBILITY AS A BENEFIT
On 26 November, the Smart Mobility Institute is hosting a webinar examining how the Covid-19 employee differs from the pre-Covid-19 employee in terms of mobility expectations. Attendees will learn how to translate current fleet and mobility strategies into a Mobility as Benefit programme in order to keep (future) employees safe, motivated and productive. You can register here.
THE 10TH ANNUAL EUROPEAN DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY CONFERENCE
On 8 December, the European Data Protection & Privacy Conference returns to celebrate its 10th year debating and discussing the most pertinent and timely data privacy issues through interactive panel discussions, speeches and interviews. You can register free of charge here.
EU FINANCIAL REGULATION AND SUPERVISION 2020
From 9 to 11 December, the Academy of European Law (ERA) is hosting an event on emerging and existing challenges facing the EU’s financial regulatory and supervisory framework, with special focus on new trends in the art and craft of financial supervision, lessons learnt from COVID-19, regulatory relief, transparency and other trends in the banking, asset management, insurance and financial services. You can register here.