Within the framework of the forthcoming Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, CECA presents the document Positioning of the CECA sector: contributions and proposals

The document was unveiled at an event that brought together the Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Support, Gonzalo García Andrés, and leading representatives of the banking sector

CECA consolidates its position as a key player of the Spanish financial sector at national and international regulatory and supervisory institutions

On 1 July and until 31 December, Spain will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In this context, the CECA sector, which includes CaixaBank, Kutxabank and Cajasur Banco, Abanca, Unicaja Banco, Ibercaja Banco, Caixa Ontinyent, Colonya Pollença and Cecabank, wishes to contribute to the design of the priorities of the economic and financial agenda that will guide the activity of the Spanish Presidency during this period.

With this in mind, it has prepared a document Positioning of the CECA sector:##2####1####2####1## contributions and proposals##2##, which was presented today at an event held at CECA's headquarters, at which different points of view were shared with a view to making progress on the key issues on the current European regulatory agenda.##3####2####3##

During the opening address of the event, Gonzalo García Andrés, Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Support, and José María Méndez, CEO of CECA, engaged in a discussion on the evolution and future of financial regulation.

During his intervention, Gonzalo García Andrés highlighted: "The aim of the presidency is to consolidate the European Union's position in the current complex geopolitical context by accelerating the energy transition and advancing integration, especially with regard to economic and financial aspects". As for those matters that have a more specific impact on the banking sector, he continued to explain: "We will drive forward the Capital Markets Union and we will also try to make progress on the Banking Union".

Likewise, in relation to the challenge of sustainability, the Secretary of State stressed that "the Spanish financial sector has been at the forefront in the modernisation of the economy over the past 50 years. In this regard, the CEO of CECA explained "the role that the Spanish Centre for Responsible and Sustainable Finance, FINRESP, which brings together AEB, CECA, INVERCO, UNESPA and UNACC, can play in highlighting the efforts being made by the financial sector in channelling capital flows towards a decarbonised and more sustainable productive fabric".

This was followed by the presentation of the document Positioning of the CECA sector: contributions and proposals, which was hosted by Luis Teijeiro, Director of Regulation and Research at CECA.

To conclude the event, a sectoral colloquium was held on "The financial sector and the Spanish Presidency of the Council", with the participation of prominent representatives of the banking sector. Francisco Serrano, Chairman of Ibercaja Banco, Carlos Bastarreche, Former Spanish Ambassador to the EU and CECA adviser on European Affairs, and Judith Arnal, professor of the Master's Degree in Banking and Financial Regulation at the University of Navarra, Director of the Bank of Spain, and Senior Research Fellow at Real Instituto Elcano. The event was moderated by Antonio Romero, Corporate Director of Association Services and Resources at CECA.

 Positioning of the CECA sector: Contributions and proposals

In shaping the document, it has drawn on the 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda adopted by the European Council on 20 June 2019, and the European Union’s response to the health and economic crisis triggered by the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020 and the start of the war in Ukraine, to drive forward the necessary measures to boost economic activity.

The document identifies, aggregated by subject, the dossiers on financial regulation which, given their relevance and impact on the economy and society, we believe should be addressed as a priority during the Spanish presidency. For each of them, the position of the CECA sector is outlined, identifying the key elements from the standpoint of financial institutions. The priorities are selected based on a dual objective: identifying the regulatory dossiers that have the greatest impact on economic and financial activity; and to raise awareness of the sector's position, in order to contribute to the political debate on these issues.

The subjects analysed cover a wide range of topics: solvency, sustainability, financial markets and anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism, payments and digitalisation, the Banking Union and Next Generation EU funds. Thus, with regard to solvency, the CECA sector is working to ensure the implementation of proportional and balanced prudential regulation, with special attention to the 2021 banking package; in the field of sustainability, we seek to strengthen the role of credit institutions in the sustainable transition with a focus on due diligence in the environmental and human rights value chain and on the EU's green agenda; with regard to markets and AML/CFT, our sector supports initiatives that protect the integrity of financial markets, among the most relevant issues are the AML/CFT package and incentives in investment products; in relation to payments and digitalisation, we want to contribute to the digital transformation of payment methods with a focus on the Open Finance & Payment Services Directive (PSD3) and the digital euro; with regard to the Banking Union, CECA supports its construction as a cornerstone of the European Union project; and with regard to the Next Generation EU funds, we believe that they are essential to transform and promote public-private collaboration.

Connecting the world through banking

One of CECA’s core pillars of activity involves representing and defending the interests of its member entities in numerous cooperation forums at national and international level, in order to stimulate transversal dialogues between different sectors, and to collaborate with organisations and authorities in particular. CECA has thus positioned itself as a cornerstone of the Spanish financial sector and as a key partner of institutions that are fundamental to society at local, national and international level.

From a global standpoint, of particular note is the international importance of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), as well as the strong links it holds with CECA, given that both institutions share common values, as demonstrated by the fact that both are chaired by Isidro Fainé. This institution comprises upwards of 85 members, representing 67 countries, with over 1.4 billion customers and more than 13 trillion euros in assets. WSBI takes a strong position in favour of inclusive, fair and equitable globalisation and supports international efforts to improve access to inclusive finance.

CECA is a member of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), through which it participates in regulatory and normative initiatives. In addition, it is especially active in the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and it is a leading member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the main task of which is to develop policies to help combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

CECA's involvement in organisations such as these facilitates its presence in major international negotiations.

In these times of far-reaching transformations, the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union is of the utmost importance. For this reason, institutions and companies need to strengthen their public-private partnerships to join forces in pursuit of more flexible and resilient systems.