Tuesday

25th Apr 2017

Commission plans to tap pension funds to kickstart business

  • European pension funds hold €2.5 trillion which should be put to work, says the commission

Tapping pension funds and encouraging online crowd funding are at the heart of plans unveiled by the European Commission to kickstart business investment.

Speaking on Thursday (27 March), financial services commissioner Michel Barnier said the Commission's blueprint on 'long-term financing' published the same day was needed to further encourage alternatives to traditional bank lending which remains stagnant more than five years since the start of the financial crisis.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Our financial system must regain and increase its ability to finance the real economy," he said, adding that "we need to diversify financing sources in Europe and improve access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises."

The bloc also needs to kick-start investment in research, new technologies and energy if it is to reach ambitious targets in its Europe 2020 and 2030 climate and energy package. It is also seeking funds worth around €1 trillion for its flag-ship infrastructure project Connecting Europe.

As part of changes to the rules governing work-related pensions, the Commission wants to ease the restrictions on what these funds can invest in. It also wants to reduce the capital requirements for banks and insurance firms looking to invest in asset-backed securities.

Although such securities products triggered the sub-prime debt crisis in the United States which, in turn, was at the heart of the 2008-9 financial crisis, Barnier insisted that easing the rules would not risk a repeat of the crisis.

European pension funds have assets worth more than €2.5 trillion on their books on behalf of over 75 million people. The EU executive believes these could be invested in businesses.

Europe needs alternative sources of investment as its banks continue to recover slowly from the financial crisis in 2008-9, while the countries hit hardest by the eurozone's debt crisis have seen businesses starved of cash.

The EU executive estimates that only one in three Greek and Dutch businesses and one in two Spanish and Italians got the full amount of credit they applied for in 2013.

Lending to small businesses in across the bloc's periphery has fallen by over 50 percent over the past five years, according to research by the Institute of International Finance.

Barroso fights to keep investment pot in EU budget

The European Commision has started banging the drum for a new €50bn pot of money that it says will reinvigorate Europe's economy. But the aid is unlikely to make it through budget negotiations unscathed.

Investigation

Russische schwarze Kassen bedrohen EU Demokratie

Es kostete €11 Millionen Le Pen im Wahlkampf zu helfen aber es kostete die russiche Mafia lediglich €100.000, einen ehemaligen britischen Generalstaatsanwalt zu rekrutieren, um gegen die EU Sanktionen vorzugehen.

France still anxious over possibility of Le Pen win

Despite opinion polls that place centrist Macron well ahead of the far-right leader Le Pen in the 7 May presidential run-off, doubts are emerging about his capacity to unite the French people around his candidacy.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  2. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan
  3. Ivanka Trump to meet Merkel at Berlin women's conference
  4. Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in 20 years
  5. Nord Stream 2 to get €4.8bn from European energy firms
  6. Defeated Fillon retires from French politics
  7. Hollande: Vote Macron to avoid 'risk' for France
  8. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children