​Pekonen-Ranta: the Finnish financial sector is preparing for EU presidency

EU regulation has greatly increased in the last decade. According to Mari Pekonen-Ranta, who was recently appointed director for EU affairs at Finance Finland (FFI), the European Commission is now preparing the final proposals to its large-scale regulation reforms. Of these reforms, the banking union and the capital markets union are the most relevant to the financial sector, but new tools for responsible finance also take high priority.

Recent years have witnessed changes in the structure of EU legislation. In addition to directives and directly applicable regulations, European financial supervisory authorities have increasingly also imposed level 2 and level 3 measures in the past five years.

”My rough estimate is that four-fifths of all financial regulation originates from the EU”, says Pekonen-Ranta. ”It is therefore crucial that rational regulation stays on the European Commission’s agenda. For example, the Commission is currently charting how much overlap and inconsistency there is in the regulation on reporting practices. To help, we have provided the Commission with a host of suggested changes.”

Pekonen-Ranta has acted as a senior legal adviser in FFI for almost ten years and headed FFI’s EU team. She is now director of EU affairs, a theme which is high on the FFI’s government programme objectives.

”Because of the extensive nature of EU legislation, it is important that FFI’s EU team focuses on thinking ahead, following up on new impulses and sniffing out the next hot topics in Brussels. Our EU team has plenty of practical experience from Brussels and a large network of contacts, but our EU operations are not limited to the EU team; in fact, almost every FFI staff member takes part in them”, explains Pekonen-Ranta. ”At the moment, we are taking part in negotiations to create new alliances among Northern European countries. Discussions about Brexit and the future of the EU require us to find new approaches to collaboration.”

Next year is going to be exceptionally action-packed in EU interest representation. After the European Parliament elections in spring 2019, the more strategic legislative work will be put on hold as the new Commission and Parliament begin to draft their objectives for the coming years. The turning points in Brexit negotiations are also likely to still be underway at the time. This creates an interesting setting for Finland, which will begin its EU presidency in July 2019. With many changes underway, many eyes will turn to Finland.

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