Eurojust steps up its role in fighting war crimes, says Agency’s Annual Report 2022

02 June 2023
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In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Eurojust’s role in fighting core international crimes was significantly enhanced in 2022, says the Agency’s Annual Report, published on 24 May. Just weeks after the outbreak of the war, the Agency provided essential support to the set-up of a joint investigation team (JIT) into alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Subsequently, Eurojust’s mandate was rapidly extended to allow the Agency to store and analyse evidence on core international crimes. By the end of the year, the European Commission asked Eurojust to host the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine (ICPA).  Continue reading…

Is voice the solution for financial services and compliance monitoring?

01 June 2023
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by Nigel Cannings

The number of fines issued by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) more than doubled in 2022. From the breach of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules, and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, to problems with operating guidelines, individuals and businesses within the UK paid out more than £215 million in fines last year. Regulations have become more stringent. Compliance is much more closely monitored, leaving businesses struggling not only to adhere to the regulations but to demonstrate that they have done so and one of the most effective solutions has taken the form of voice tech.  Continue reading…

Commission approves the merger between Credit Suisse and UBS

29 May 2023
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The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the merger between Credit Suisse and UBS. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns in the European Economic Area (‘EEA’). UBS and Credit Suisse are both global multinational investment banks and financial services companies. In the EEA, the companies’ activities overlap in wealth and asset management as well as in investment banking. Based on its market investigation, the Commission found that the merger would not significantly reduce competition in the markets where their activities overlap within the EEA.
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EU Customs Reform: A data-driven vision for a simpler, smarter and safer Customs Union

27 May 2023

The Commission has put forward proposals for the most ambitious and comprehensive reform of the EU Customs Union since its establishment in 1968. The measures proposed today present a world-leading, data-driven vision for EU Customs, which will massively simplify customs processes for business, especially for the most trustworthy traders. Embracing the digital transformation, the reform will cut down on cumbersome customs procedures, replacing traditional declarations with a smarter, data-led approach to import supervision. At the same time, customs authorities will have the tools and resources they need to properly assess and stop imports which pose real risks to the EU, its citizens and its economy.
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Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Solvency II does not aim at protecting economic operators: Will the IRRD do?

25 May 2023
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In 2021, the EFTA Court delivered an interesting judgment. Maybe it passed unnoticed as COVID was still raging through our normal working habits. But in the context of the current Solvency II (SII) review, including the proposed new Insurance Recovery and Resolution directive (hereafter IRRD), it might be useful to read this case again. The case concerned two French non-life insurance undertakings who sought to hold the Liechtenstein Financial Supervisory Authority (FMA) liable for failing to fulfil its supervisory obligations towards a Liechtenstein insurer who became insolvent, and who was in three capacities a creditor to the French insurers. The claimants were thus not insured persons under an insurance contract or a policyholder of the Liechtenstein insurer. Continue reading…

European Commission must uphold corporate transparency in the 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive

24 May 2023
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Transparency International has sent an open letter to European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness calling for support for proposals from the European Parliament regarding transparency of ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) in the 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. McGuinness is European Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and the Capital Markets Union, and has done pioneering work in combating financial crime. The letter was signed by 200 representatives from academia, civil society and media organisations active in 67 countries. 

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Anonymous Eurosystem leaks – minor nuisance or major problem?

23 May 2023

by Michael Ehrmann, Phillipp Gnan and Kilian Rieder

At times, media reports on ECB monetary policy refer to information from unidentified Eurosystem sources. This ECB Blog post takes a closer look at such leaks. They tend to go against prevailing trends in short-term rates and can trigger major market reactions even though they are not generally informative about upcoming decisions. Readers of ECB-related news occasionally stumble across reporting that cites unnamed Eurosystem “insiders” or “sources”. What drives such leaks and how do they impact public views? To understand this better, we have taken a systematic look at their frequency, when they typically occur, and how they affect financial markets. The effects of unattributed communication about monetary policy are not well understood. They may, for instance, move markets in the run-up to policy meetings and thereby reduce policy flexibility, or more generally harm a central bank’s credibility. Continue reading…

Photo: Press point by Ursula VON DER LEYEN, President of the European Commission

EU President von der Leyen on policies towards China

20 May 2023
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EU President von der Leyen on EU policies towards China at Session III of the G7, Foreign and Security Policy: “Our policies towards China need to change because China has changed. China has moved from “reform and opening” to “security and control”. China has become more repressive at home and more assertive abroad, particularly in its neighbourhood. And China struck an “unlimited friendship” with Russia on the eve of the brutal invasion of Ukraine. At the same time decoupling from China is neither viable nor in our interest. Therefore we should keep open communication lines and working with China in areas like climate change, pandemic preparedness, financial stability or nuclear proliferation. At the same time we have to reduce our vulnerabilities in our economic relationship (economic de-risking).”
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BIS Innovation Hub publishes guide on offline CBDC use

19 May 2023

As part of Project Polaris, the BIS Innovation Hub Nordic Centre has recently published a comprehensive handbook exploring key aspects of how central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) could work for offline payments. The ability to make payments offline means being able to use a CBDC without being connected to the internet, either temporarily or because of coverage limitations. Central banks considering the potential implementation of CBDCs with offline functionality must take into account a complex matrix of issues including security, privacy, likely risks, the types of solution, their maturity and applicability, and operational factors. The handbook, compiled in partnership with Consult Hyperion, addresses these issues as well as objectives for resilience, inclusion, cash resemblance, accessibility and other desired attributes. Continue reading…

Harmonised EU patent rules boost innovation, investment and competitiveness in the Single Market

17 May 2023
Knowledge Base

The Commission has proposed new rules to help companies, especially small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), make the most of their inventions, leverage new technologies and contribute to the EU’s competitiveness and technological sovereignty. The proposed Regulations on standard essential patents, compulsory licensing of patents in crisis situations, and the revision of the legislation on supplementary protection certificates will create a more transparent, effective and futureproof intellectual property rights framework. Intangible assets like brands, designs, patents and data are increasingly important in today’s knowledge economy. Intellectual property (IP) is a key driver for economic growth as it helps companies gain value from their intangible assets. IP-intensive industries account for almost half of all GDP and over 90% of all EU exports. In the period 2017–2019, nearly 76% of intra-EU trade was generated by patent-intensive industries.
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