EU/Competition: Banking and Finance

Newsletter 11/2020

Sector specific updates
EBA: Consultation on the revision of the Guidelines on major incident reporting under PSD2

The European Banking Authority (EBA) launched 14.10.20 a public consultation to propose revising the Guidelines on major incident reporting under the Payment Service Directive (PSD2). The consultation runs until 14.12.20. The existing Guidelines on major incident reporting set out, inter alia, the criteria, thresholds and methodology to be used by PSPs to determine whether or not an operational or security incident should be considered major and how said incident should be notified to the CA in the home State. The consultation paper proposes the introduction of the new incident classification criterion ‘breach of security measures’ to capture security incidents where the breach of the security measures of the PSP has an impact on the availability, integrity, confidentiality and/or authenticity of the payment services related data, processes and/or systems. The consultation paper also introduces changes to the thresholds for the calculation of the criteria ‘transactions affected’ and ‘payment service users affected’. Visit the consultation paper here.

EBA: Consultation on revised Guidelines on sound remuneration policies

The EBA launched 29.10.20 a public consultation on revised Guidelines on sound remuneration policies. The review takes into account the amendments introduced by the fifth Capital Requirements Directive (CRD V) in relation to institutions’ sound remuneration policies and in particular the requirement that those remuneration policies should be gender neutral. The consultation runs until 29 January 2021. The principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value is laid down in Article 157 TFEU. Institutions need to apply this principle in a consistent manner. In this context, the revised Guidelines specify that institutions should implement a gender-neutral remuneration policy. Visit the consultation paper here.

General updates
State aid: Results of evaluation of EEA State aid rules published

Since May 2012, the Commission has implemented a major reform of EEA State aid rules: the State Aid Modernisation package. The Commission published 30.10.20 a Commission Staff Working Document summarising the results of an evaluation of the State aid rules. The exercise covered the following rules: (i) General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER), (ii) De minimis Regulation, (iii) Guidelines on regional State aid, (iv) Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (RDI), (v) Communication on important projects of common European interest (IPCEI), (vi) Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments, (vii) Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines, (viii) Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy and (IX) Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring. In addition, it also covered the Railways Guidelines from 2008 and the Short term export credit Communication from 2012. Those rules were not revised as part of the State Aid Modernisation, but an evaluation was relevant in the light of developments in EEA law and the Commission’s case practice. The “fitness check” concludes that, overall, the State aid rules under scrutiny are broadly fit for purpose. However, the individual rules need revisions, including clarifications, further streamlining and simplification, as well as adjustments to reflect recent legislative developments, current priorities, changes in markets and technology developments. By way of example, in line with the outcome of the evaluation, the Commission will propose to clarify and simplify the practical application of certain provisions, such as how to calculate in a simplified manner indirect eligible costs for research & Development projects. As regards IPCEIs, in view of the special role that SMEs play in the economy, and considering that State aid to SMEs is less likely to distort competition and affect trade between EEA countries, it may be appropriate to facilitate SMEs’ participation in IPCEIs, both directly and indirectly. The “fitness check” also revealed that compatibility rules on regional aid worked fairly well, but needed streamlining and clarification of some concepts. The “fitness check” shows that the environmental and energy rules have so far facilitated a more effective and less distortive deployment of state resources to improve environmental protection and achieve the objectives of the Energy Union. However, they need to be further adjusted in light of new technologies and novel support types, as well as recent environmental and energy legislation. The rules also need to be aligned to future challenges. In particular and according to the Commission, state aid should contribute even further to the European Green Deal, as well as to the EU’s Digital and Industrial Strategies. In particular, the revision of the energy and environmental rules will have to facilitate appropriate measures further promoting a modern decarbonised and circular economy, while ensuring limited distortions of competition and adequate safeguards to the integrity of the single market. The Commission plans to anticipate the review of the relevant State aid guidelines to the end of 2021. These include the Regional aid Guidelines, IPCEI Communication, RDI Framework, Risk Finance Guidelines, Environmental and Energy Guidelines and relevant provisions of GBER. The other rules that were part of the “fitness check” will be revised in the medium term. Public consultations on these rules are taking place between the second half of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Visit DG COMP’s web page on the fitness check here.

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