Capital Markets Union is not a cure-all for SME jobs and growth, may generate new risks

Brussels, 2 June 2015 – Capital Markets Union is not a cure-all for creating stable jobs and growth, and policymakers should be concerned about new systemic risks that an increased reliance on capital market financing could introduce to the EU’s financial system, said Finance Watch, the public interest association dedicated to making finance serve society.

At an event hosted today by Finance Watch for Italian media correspondents in Brussels, Head of Policy Analysis, Frédéric Hache, presented Finance Watch’s paper “Capital Markets Union in 5 questions”, which explains why European citizens should be concerned about this medley of initiatives proposed by the Juncker Commission.

Finance Watch not only questions the ability of the Capital Markets Union to foster jobs and growth at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but also fears that promoting non-bank lending (also called-shadow banking) will create a more fragile financial system. This is problematic as our financial system performs vital functions for the economy and the stability of the financial system is therefore a prerequisite for sustainable growth.

Mr Hache said:

“Our analysis highlights the risk that the Capital Markets Union might weaken the model of retail-funded, traditional, relationship banking that, when carried out by well governed banks, proved the most reliable source of financing for SMEs during and after the crisis. Instead, the Capital Markets Union as currently envisaged would promote alternative financing channels such as securitisation that will likely be too complex and too expensive to benefit most SMEs.”

The SME sector still faces intense problems in accessing finance in many European countries, including Italy (DG Enterprise and Industry 2014 SBA Fact Sheet, Italy). The Capital Markets Union proposal does not seem able to respond effectively to this challenge. Finance Watch also questions the ability of this policy approach to boost consumption, address inequalities and prioritise stable growth over activities that promote speculation.

The European Commission is currently consulting on the proposed framework and aims to implement a Capital Markets Union by 2019. While this may seem far away, the important decisions are being taken now. Finance Watch believes that this very important framework deserves a democratic debate given its impact on European citizens’ lives for the decades to come.


Further information::

“Capital Markets Union in 5 Questions” (pdf, 12 pages, also available in ItalianFrench and  Polish)

“A missed opportunity to revive “boring” finance?” (pdf, 98 pages) Finance Watch’s position paper on the long term financing initiative, good securitisation and securities financing

Cartoon on long term financing (pdf, 9 pages, also available in FrenchGermanPolishItalianDutch and Spanish)


Giulia Porina – office +32 2 880 0430 email

Greg Ford –  office +32 2 880 0440 mobile +44 7703 219 222 email

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