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ECOFIN Outlines Next Steps for Crypto and Climate Action

On December 5, Valdis Dombrovskis made a speech at the conclusion of the first Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting of the new European Commission (EC). Mr. Dombrovskis is the European Commissioner for “an Economy that Works for People”, and is one of the three newly-appointed Executive Vice Presidents of the EC.

ECOFIN is the EU council responsible for economic policy, tax and financial services regulation. It is also the council responsible for the EU’s annual budget, the legal and practical aspects of the Euro (€), the coordination of member states’ economic policies, and the EU’s positions for international meetings, such as the G20.

In the speech, Mr. Dombrovskis outlined six areas of focus for ECOFIN:

  1. Climate Action: The Green Financing Strategy, which Mr. Dombrovskis was asked to develop by the new EC President Ursula von der Leyen, is to be published in 2020. ECOFIN is also working with the European Parliament towards a taxonomy for defining sustainable economic activities;

  2. Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing: ECOFIN would like the European Council to explore a way of ensuring more robust and effective cooperation between the relevant authorities and bodies and the potential for conferring supervisory powers in this area to an EU body;

  3. Stablecoins: ECOFIN and the EC adopted a joint statement on the need for a common European framework and noted that no global stablecoin arrangement should begin operation in the EU until the legal, regulatory and oversight challenges and risks have been adequately identified and addressed. ECOFIN intends to launch a public consultation on stablecoins before the end of 2019;

  4. Digital Operational Resilience: ECOFIN will also launch a public consultation in this area for example, in relation to cyberattacks;

  5. Capital Markets Union (CMU): Dombrovskis stated that they want to take the CMU to the “next level”, and that they have set up a High-Level Forum to look at new ideas for improving access to finance and ensuring that savers put their investments to productive use; and

  6. Energy Taxation: Again on the topic of climate action, Mr. Dombrovskis noted the need to move forward with the new energy taxation framework and highlighted the requirements to broaden the existing tax base and preserve competitiveness.

The speech is available here and a summary of the main results of the ECOFIN meeting is available here.

©2020 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 347


About this Author

John Ahern, Financial Attorney, London, Katten Law Firm

John Ahern, partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP and head of the London Financial Services group, focuses his practice on banking, financial services, UK and European financial markets, and related regulations. His background in private practice and as in-house counsel at a global investment bank provides him with perspective on the unique regulatory issues facing the wholesale and private banking sectors. John advises multilateral trading facilities, broker-dealers and banks on trading, clearing and settlement as well as custody of securities—both physical and...

+44 (0) 20 7770 5253
Carolyn H. Jackson, International Attorney, Katten Muchin law firm

Carolyn Jackson is a partner in Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP and is a Registered Foreign Lawyer. She provides US financial regulatory legal advice to a broad range of market participants, including commercial banks, investment banks, investment managers, broker-dealers, electronic trading platforms, clearinghouses, trade associations and over-the-counter derivatives service providers.

Carolyn guides clients in the structuring and offering of complex securities, commodities and derivatives transactions and in complying with US securities and commodities laws and regulations. 

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Nathaniel Lalone, Katten Muchin Law Firm, Financial Institutions Attorney
Senior Associate

Nathaniel Lalone, a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP, has a broad range of experience in the regulation of financial products and financial markets, and frequently provides regulatory and compliance advice to trading venues, clearing houses and buy-side firms active in the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, futures and securities markets. He is actively involved in advising clients on the implementation of MiFID 2 and MiFIR in the European Union as well as the international reach of US financial services regulation. He also has significant experience with structuring...

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Neil Robson, private equity fund managers counselor, Katten Law Firm, London

Neil Robson, a regulatory and compliance partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, focuses his practice on counseling hedge and private equity fund managers and other investment advisers on operational, regulatory and compliance issues. He regularly addresses Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and EU authorization and compliance under both the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFM Directive) and MiFID, cross-border issues in the financial services sector, market abuse, anti-money laundering and regulatory capital requirements, formations and buyouts of...