Regulatory Insights

Issue No. 20

Our quarterly overview of legislative and regulatory developments in the European Union.

October 2019

Despite covering the summer recess, the third quarter of 2019 continued in much the same vein as the rest of the year, with significant political and legislative developments.

Most notably, in the area of sustainable finance, the Council of the European Union reached a general agreement on the taxonomy proposal, the only outstanding (and arguably most important) element of the European Commission’s sustainable finance action plan. This now opens the door for negotiations with the EU Parliament and the European Commission to finalise the proposal.

Separately, both the Council and the European Commission have initiated working groups to consider and provide recommendations on the future of the Capital Markets Union. Furthermore, European policymakers continue to mull their response to disruptive technology and FinTech, including a potential regulatory framework for virtual currencies.       

The last quarter has also seen the composition of the new European Commission become clearer. The nomination of Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission was endorsed by the European Parliament, making her the first woman to lead the Commission. The Parliament also approved Valdis Dombrovskis’ return to the College of Commissioners to head up financial services, providing a degree of continuity.  

This has all taken place against the backdrop of Brexit, which continues to dominate the political landscape. While the EU and UK reached a new deal in principle, it’s failure to be ratified eventually resulted in an extension of the Article 50 deadline, to 31 January 2020. The UK is now preparing to hold a General Election in December. This all means that the fourth quarter of 2019 may be the most tumultuous in what has already been an unprecedented year.