How to vote for a financial system that serves society

Finance Watch releases its citizens’ guide to vote for change in the European Elections 2019 with a detailed analysis of the commitments to reform the financial system made by the EU political groups

Brussels, 25 April 2019 – Finance Watch, the independent non-profit association with a mission of making finance serve society, has today published its analysis of the financial reform proposals made by the EU political groups ahead of the European Parliament 2019 election campaigns. By rating the ambitions each political group has to make finance serve society, Finance Watch wants to help European citizens to cast an informed vote.

Finance Watch has analysed and rated the commitments separately in four areas of policy changes needed to make finance serve society: (1) Stabilize the financial system, (2) democratise the financial institutions as well as financial policy making, (3) re-direct capital to a sustainable economy and (4) prepare for a future financial crisis.

The analysis shows that European political groups differ significantly in their ambition to change the financial system as well as in the transparency of their commitments:

  • Only S&D, Greens/EFA and the Left commit to policy measures that aim at making the financial sector more stable, such as higher capital requirements, bank separation, as well as a financial transaction tax.
  • The Left in particular, and to a lesser extent the Greens/EFA and S&D, campaign for making finance as well as financial policy making more democratic. EPP, ECR and ALDE even propose counter-productive measures such as restricting potential public spending capacity.
  • All political groups who made their manifestos available have included proposals to re-direct capital to a sustainable economy, acknowledging the need tackle climate change and environmental damage through new EU-wide economic policies.
  • EPP, and to a lesser extent ALDE, focus on being prepared to avoid another financial crisis, but show no intention of changing the status quo of the current financial system.
  • Complete lack of transparency on commitments of two European political groups leaves voters in the dark about their ambitions to change finance: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD) and Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF).

Benoît Lallemand, Secretary General of Finance Watch, said:

“Politicians need to face the everyday realities of European citizens: A rising gap between a wealthy few and poorest parts of society (with a shrinking middle class)  is being made worse by rent-seeking activities of the financial sector. Short-termism in financial markets is also contributing to the increasingly present and worsening effects of climate change on the environment. Brown projects remain more profitable due to a lack of economic regulation.

“Increasingly Europe’s citizens have understood that business as usual will not work for them. Politicians need to give a convincing response to their demands for change of our economic and financial system if they want to be elected.

“We call upon all candidates in the European elections to take on their crucial role in shifting the power balance to collectively shape a new financial system that citizens can trust and support, that delivers a fair and sustainable future.”


For further information or interview requests, please contact:

Charlotte Geiger, Senior Communications Officer at Finance Watch, at or at 0032/(0)474331031.


Finance Watch is politically impartial and not affiliated with any party. Our aim is to ensure all parties and political groups have the strongest possible policies to make finance serve society.

For the rating, Finance Watch collected commitments made by the eight political groups of the current European Parliament, ahead of the European Parliament elections taking place between 23 and 26 May 2019. These commitments have been checked against a set of key demands that Finance Watch asks EU policy makers to put it into practice during their next mandate to make finance serve society. The ratings are based on how far the different commitments meet the Finance Watch demands.

As not all European political groups have published a manifesto for the upcoming elections, Finance Watch has also analysed the political groups’ policy papers, resolutions and other submitted documents to complete the rating. Each head of the political groups and, where they exist, campaign leader or Spitzenkandidat(en), has also been informed about the results of the analysis and ratings before their publication to give them the opportunity to add additional commitments.

The manifestos and political groups policy papers/resolutions are all available online and input from the political parties sent to Finance Watch has been included in the rating tool document:

Group of the European People’s Party (EPP)

Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D)

European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR)

Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/ EFA)

Confederal Group of the European United Left – Nordic Green Left (GUE/ NGL)

Manifesto (No group manifesto, but give their support to the positions in the European Left manifesto):

Policy Papers/Resolutions:

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD)

Manifesto: N/A

Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF)

Manifesto: N/A

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