Letzte Aktualisierung: 13. February 2019

Politischer Dialog Brüssel

Green Finance needs market-compatible framework conditions

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"At first glance, the EU project sounds like a good idea" - this is how Christine Völzow, Head of the Economic Policy Department at vbw, introduced the assessment of the draft regulations on sustainable finance of the EU Commission. The BDI study Climate Paths for Germany shows that even with optimal implementation, additional investments of around 970 billion euros will be necessary to achieve the 80 percent target by 2050 – only in Germany.

Christine Völzow, vbw: Considerable doubts on the proposed regulatory approach

Völzow linked the doubts on the regulatory with the following concrete aspects:

  • The intended disclosure and reporting obligations, specifications for advisory processes and the associated bureaucratic burdens are already very critical for the concerned financial sector. The planned system must never lead to financial risks by underestimating the financial risks of sustainable financial investments and thereby jeopardize the stability of the financial markets.
  • It is unacceptable to abandon voluntarism and to divide the entire economy into "sustainable" and "non-sustainable" - as proposed by the parliamentary rapporteurs. A certification obligation or massive de facto certification pressure on the real economy must urgently be avoided. That would lead to double regulation and discrimination of entire "classic" branches of the industry and could trigger financing freezes, for example in follow-up financing, as well as an end of insurability in classic business models.
  • Problems arising from the lack of a uniform understanding of sustainability remain unsolved, as demonstrated by the different assessments of nuclear energy in the EU member states. Even detailed questions have the potential for lasting changes of our economic landscape, for example whether synthetic fuels are considered particularly sustainable or if only emission-free mobility is.
  • Völzow fundamentally criticized the fact that such essential issues are shifted to delegated legal acts and thus removed from parliamentary control.

Core concerns of the vbw

Völzow formulated as the most important concerns of the economy:

  • New measures in Green Finance must be voluntary, simple and practical.
  • According to this, the regulation must be reduced on the original core idea: more transparency and international harmonization for sustainable investment strategies to create incentives for more genuinely voluntary investments.
  • This requires an agreement on a taxonomy that is easy to handle and can be connected internationally. The development process must involve the industry.
  • Essential decisions must be made by the legislature itself.

Barbara Schretter, Bavarian Representation: Avoiding risks - keeping bureaucracy manageable

Barbara Schretter, Head of the Bavarian Representation, requested for the new regulation to ensure that new obligations remain proportionate and that real added value is ensured. Bureaucratic burdens must be avoided, and existing obligations must be evaluated with the aim of reducing them. She rejected a green supporting factor constituting the risks of sustainable financing. It represents a threat to financial stability and a risk for investors. Schretter also called for the project to be further developed in close dialogue with the financial and real economy and criticized the intention to rely comprehensively on delegated legal acts.

Martin Spolc, EU Commission, defends the regulatory package

Martin Spolc, Head of Unit and responsible for the project, presented the regulatory package and the associated objectives. He stressed that the project was not aimed to be an "eco-dictatorship“ but wanted to initiate extensive investments in the sectors concerned by CO2 emissions and is ultimately aimed at the entire economy. He justified the anchoring of the development of taxonomy without political participation with high urgency. The goal is to facilitate investments in sustainability in a complex and challenging process also via global cooperation. In addition to the risks associated with the project, the associated opportunities must also be seen.

Bas Eikhout MEP / Greens: Commission does not go far enough

Bas Eikhout, rapporteur for the project in the European Parliament and member of the Dutch Greens stressed that the EU Commission is not yet ambitious enough with the project. He rejected voluntarism and a concentration on those (financial) products that claim sustainability for themselves. In addition to ecological goals, he also wants to comprehensively include social goals in the regulation. He expects small companies to be able to easily cope the burdens associated with the project due to their innovative strength.

Stefan Gehrold MEP: Approaching regulation on a voluntary basis correctly

Stefan Gehrold MEP described the regulatory concern as appropriate but considers the dossier to be overloaded: a lot of bureaucracy, little effect. According to him, the instruments do not lead to the desired effect. He called for modesty, to tackle regulation properly on a voluntary basis and a correct assessment of risks instead of trying to impose ecology aggressively.

Andreas Schmidt, Finanzplatz München Initiative: Taking political responsibility for interventions in the marketplace.

Andreas Schmidt, CEO Bayerische Börse AG and spokesman of the Finanzplatz München Initiative required intervention in the market to be decided politically and not left to the authorities. He rejected an obligation of bank advisors to ask every customer about their sustainability goals as excessive regulation. He also considers a green supporting factor to be completely inappropriate, since so-called "green bonds" – bonds invested in ecological sustainability – do not perform better or worse in terms of risk than other securities.

Dr. Wolfgang Weber, BASF: Dealing constructively with regulatory dilemmas

Dr. Wolfgang Weber, Head of BASF's Representation in Brussels, explained the company’s sustainability strategy. He also explained not yet to see how the planned regulation would deal with dilemmas. Situations in which regulation based on a factor such as CO2 would lead to negative effects elsewhere, for example, it would become more difficult to make progress in plastics recycling that is depending on the use of energy. Such questions would have to be solved in the course of development of taxonomy as this determines whether an investment is considered as sustainable or not.

Alexander Radwan MdB: Do not force environmental and social sustainability goals through financial market regulation

As a guest at the event from the Deutschen Bundestag, Alexander Radwan MdB emphasized that it is not acceptable to shift crucial issues to delegated acts without political control or to set objectives for financial market supervision that are not committed to financial market stability. He considers the goals of the regulatory package to be good but Radwan rejects their realization through financial market regulation.

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Green Finance needs market-compatible framework conditions
on 05.02.2019 in Brüssel

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