Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (44)

Eoghan Murphy


44. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Finance the status of progress towards a capital markets union. [26677/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí ó Béal (6 píosaí cainte) (Ceist ar Finance)

This is to ask for an update on the capital markets union. A new action plan was agreed only five days ago. For five years now, the plan has been making progress towards that union. This is to see if the Minister could inform the Dáil on that updated plan.

That work is under way. An updated report has been published. It is an action plan towards a capital markets union which looks at the different steps member states may be able to take to accelerate progress in how we can arrive at new ways of funding investment and delivering lending, particularly to smaller companies across the EU.

I will work in particular with Commissioner Dombrovskis and hopefully, if she is successful in her hearing on Friday, Commissioner McGuinness, to examine how we can re-energise the agenda. There is a huge difference between the economy of the EU and the eurozone in particular compared with other really big economies in other parts of the world.

It is very important that we continue with the progress we are making in the capital market union to protect the European Union from negative external shocks, in terms of capital flowing in and out of the EU. If we can be more autonomous in how we fund small businesses, we can pursue our own agenda in green financing, digital transition and the important things that underpin the reason for the capital markets union. We can also ensure our pensions and savings are safe in those more turbulent times.

I join with the Minister in wishing Ms McGuinness well and hope she will be confirmed as the new Commissioner for financial services. Hopefully, when she is in position, we can find further progress in this important area.

It is about jobs, how we can use people's savings to fund within Europe investment that can create more jobs and better income in future. That is the purpose of capital markets union. We have not made the progress on it in the EU in recent years that we had planned and wanted. I believe the kind of context the Deputy referred to will be cause for more ambition and energy in this area. It is about how we come up with new ways of funding jobs and investment and delivering better living standards in the future. That is the only thing that capital markets union is about.

One important part of that action plan is improving financial literacy. As we introduce measures for new sources of funding and finance to support local business and new parts of the economy, we must also look for new ways to educate people on how these new systems will work to ensure that we do not fall foul of some of the problems of the past in relation to bad financial transactions.

The best way we can begin to do that work is in our schools. The curriculums in business studies and economics and how the basics of mathematical literacy are taught in secondary school, using real life examples in relation to finances and work, are the foundation towards beginning that. In future, the products that will be available to families and businesses may be safer in many ways, in their regulation and where the funding comes from to enable the products, but as we know too well, financial risk is always there for countries, families and businesses. The more we can encourage literacy in the area, the better we can manage risk in the future.