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Regulation: news in brief

Updates on regulation at both a global and national level; and the impact on the speed of recovery.

31 July 2020: Commission consults on non-financial reporting measures under EU taxonomy rules – Stakeholder feedback is sought in the next month on a roadmap which sets out how the Commission will develop secondary legislation required under the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

24 July 2020: Commission launches consultations on carbon border levy and fuel tax – Questions on the carbon border adjustment mechanism focus on how a levy, which could be structured along the lines of a sales tax, would impact imports into the EU.

24 July 2020: Commission sets out rules on EU climate benchmarks – The delegated act sets out minimum technical standards for methodology while also defining ESG disclosure requirements for benchmark administrations, including on alignment with the Paris Agreement.

17 July 2020: New EU package for ‘fair and simple taxation’ published. The package published by the Commission includes 25 initiatives due to be implemented before 2024 including steps to reduce tax obstacles and red tape for businesses, ensure better enforcement and compliance, encourage more data sharing and use, and promotion of taxpayers’ rights.

17 July 2020: Growing calls for a European ESG database – Responding to the Commission’s sustainable finance strategy consultation, ESMA, EBA and EIOPA have called for a single EU data platform to provide access to sustainability data. Similar calls have been made by fund managers and insurers. The ESAs have also called for a better corporate governance framework related to green risks, as well as enhanced transparency for consumers and investors via ESG ratings, benchmarks and labelling.

8 July 2020: EBA provides clarity on the implementation of the prudential framework in the context of COVID-19.

3 July 2020: Court of Auditors calls for more reliable reporting on climate expenditure – a review by the European Court of Auditors suggests that climate spending targets can be effective in achieving change but that a more robust and consistent methodology to track such spending is needed. The report focuses on EU spending on agriculture, cohesion and research, accounting for the majority of climate-related expenditure in the EU budget.

26 June 2020: IMF revises forecasts, predicting 10.2 percent fall in eurozone GDP – the projections released this week are worse than those recently issued by the ECB and OECD, predicting a steeper fall in the eurozone (and UK) EU than in other regions, including the US, China, Russia and Latin America. The IMF expects that the global economy will shrink by 4.9 percent.

26 June 2020: The EU Commission proposes €166.7bn for 2021 budget – as EU leaders continue discussions on the multiannual financial framework, the Commission has tabled proposals for the first budget in the new term. The expectation is that the draft budget will be complemented by €211bn in grants and €133bn in loans under the EU’s proposed recovery instruments. 

26 June 2020: COVID-19 EU banking package gets final green lights – both Parliament and Council have formally approved the exceptional changes to capital requirements legislation in order to facilitate bank lending. The measures extend transitional arrangements for IFRS9 by two years as well as changing the minimum amount of capital that banks are required to hold for non-performing loans (NPLs).

26 June 2020: EBA extends application date of guidelines on payment moratoria – the European Banking Authority has indicated that banks can continue to grant moratoria until the end of September without triggering NPL requirements. The EBA warned, however, of the trade-off as current COVID-19 related liquidity shortages could develop into solvency issues that would require a proper case-by-case assessment by banks.

23 June 2020: The Basel Committee has proposed an amendment to capital rules for non-performing loan securitisations, addressing a gap in the regulatory framework.

18 June 2020: EU countries agree on technical specifications of tracing apps to ensure safe exchange and avoid the use of geolocation data.

17 June 2020: The Basel Committee has reviewed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global banking system and reiterated guidance on buffers.

11 June 2020: European Court of Auditors to scrutinise EU AML policies, including how quickly action is taken after suspected rule breaking, and how AML risks are assessed and communicated to national regulators.

4 June 2020: New World Trade Organisation webpage examines link between trade and natural disasters.

3 June 2020: WTO report examines impact of COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses.

29 May 2020: IOSCO stresses importance of fair disclosure on COVID-19 impact, encouraging issuers to ensure high quality disclosures on operating performance, financial position and prospects.

29 May 2020: The European Banking Authority (EBA) has issued robust guidelines on loan origination standards, with a consumer protection focus.

28 May 2020: Thousands of health professionals have called on world leaders to prioritise a greener future, post-pandemic, says WEF.

27 May 2020: Digital transition is at heart of recovery plans. The European Commission has stressed digitalisation throughout the pandemic and the importance of a digital recovery.

22 May 2020: The Asian Development Bank says: build green to help fend off the next pandemic.

20 May 2020: The United Nations Development Programme has announced that human development is on course to decline this year for the first time since 1990.

20 May 2020: The ECB has launched a public consultation on its guide on climate-related and environmental risks.

20 May 2020: ESMA has issued a statement to promote transparency and consistent application of European requirements for the information provided in the half-yearly financial reports under the current circumstances related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

19 May 2020: The World Bank Group has announced its emergency operations to fight COVID-19  have reached 100 developing countries – home to 70% of the world’s population. Since March, the Bank Group has rapidly delivered record levels of support in order to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, reinforce health systems, maintain the private sector, and bolster economic recovery.

19 May 2020: E3G assesses how multilateral development banks can address COVID-19 and deliver long-term impact.

19 May 2020: The Bank of England will publish the names of firms supported under Covid Corporate Financing Facility. A statement said the bank expects firms with outstanding loans from May 21 to show restraint on dividends and executive pay.

18 May 2020: The IMF has asked the question: with interest rates at record lows and public debts at historical highs in many countries, how can advanced economies best prepare for and respond to future downturns?

18 May 2020: The EU Commission has outlined a three-pillar EU recovery instrument. Sitting alongside a revised EU multi-annual budget (still awaited), the new instrument will be partially funded by EU borrowing on capital markets, backed by member state guarantees.

18 May 2020: BDI, MEDEF and Confindustria have issued a joint call for European fiscal solidarity. The statement issued by the three largest business organisations in the EU stressed the importance of a comprehensive recovery plan. It notes the need for an unprecedented level of public support including at European level, based on a ‘strong element of true fiscal solidarity’ for those countries most affected. The three urge that public funds help progress green and digital priorities, while paying more attention to strategic value chains.

18 May 2020: The Eurozone has agreed key features of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Pandemic Crisis Support. A preliminary agreement by Eurozone finance ministers confirmed that all members of the ESM are eligible for support under the new instrument, with a benchmark of 2% of individual countries’ GDP.

18 May 2020: The EU Commission has enabled public equity injections, with conditions. The (expected) changes to state aid rules allow recapitalisation of companies while seeking to avoid undue distortions of competition in the single market.

18 May 2020: The EU Commission has postponed VAT and DAC6 deadlines. It has postponed the entry into force of new VAT e-commerce rules (by six months to July 2021) as well as certain deadlines for filing and exchanging information under the Directive on Administrative Cooperation.

15 May 2020: The African Development Bank says: "Apply climate change lessons to COVID-19 pandemic".

15 May 2020: The latest report from the IFAC Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee is now available: Supporting Accountants in Business & Public Sector Through Uncertain Times.

14 May 2020: $1 Billion will come from the World Bank to protect India’s poorest from COVID-19.

14 May 2020: OMFIF reports that the European Central Bank is likely to raise significantly its €750bn emergency bond buying programme next month to counter pandemic-induced risks of euro area fragmentation, according to Marcel Fratzscher, President of the Berlin-based DIW economic research institute.

14 May 2020: Covid-19 lessons for sustainable finance, published by OMFIF, comments on the effects of COVID-19 on employment and career development, and the massive levels of debt that governments are incurring to support their economies.

14 May 2020: The European Green Deal must be at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery, says WEF.

14 May 2020: Gulf states ask: should we worry about inflation after COVID-19 bailouts? A report has been published in ZAWYA. It comments that the driver of inflation is money in the hands of the public, not money in the books of the central bank.

13 May 2020: President von der Leyen has made a speech at the European Parliament Plenary on the new MFF, own resources and the Recovery Plan.

13 May 2020: Foreign Policy has commented that, for decades, monetary policy has been treated as technical, not political. The pandemic has ended that illusion forever.

13 May 2020: IFRS Foundation Trustee Teresa Ko has outlined possible future roles the IFRS Foundation could play in supporting progress towards the development of high-quality, internationally recognised standards for sustainability reporting.

13 May 2020: ‘COVID-19 will compromise the transition to clean energy without urgent stakeholder action,’ says the World Economic Forum in its report. The study measures readiness for clean energy transition in 115 economies showing that 94 have made progress since 2015, but environmental sustainability continues to lag.