The members of the European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) welcome the opportunity to contribute to the discussion launched by the European Commission on the development a Capital Markets Union by way of its green paper and to provide input on the specific measures that could be taken in that regard.
The EACB supports the Commission's plans to promote investments throughout Europe. It also supports the statement of the EU Commission that each new regulation must be designed to support the real economy and that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key drivers in terms of growth and jobs.
The EACB welcome that the Commission recognises in the Green Paper that any improvement to the European Capital Markets has to acknowledge the key role of banks (as issuers, investors and intermediaries) in financing the EU economy, and that improvements in capital markets should not substitute but rather supplement bank financing. This role clearly assumes a special relevance for retail banks and particularly for cooperative banks because of their direct relationship with retail investors on the one hand, and with SMEs on the other. Throughout the crisis they maintained and strengthened their role as financing and stabilising anchor for the real economy. More generally, financing in Europe has been and still is bank dominated; hence the aim of this Capital Markets Union (CMU) initiative should be to complement these well-established functions of banks via capital market tools rather than diluting them.