Marek Belka has been made rapporteur for the EU’s new payments legislation, while instant payment rapporteur Michiel Hoogeveen will take the lead on the open finance framework.
Members of the European Parliament have been assigned rapporteur roles for the EU’s third Payment Services Directive (PSD3), the Payment Services Regulation (PSR) and the Framework for Financial Data Access (FIDA), which lays the groundwork for open finance in the EU.
Belka, a Polish EU parliamentarian who was elected in 2019, comes from a financial regulatory background.
Prior to being an MEP, Belka was president of the National Bank of Poland between 2010 and 2016.
In 2007, Belka was proposed by Poland as managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but the EU opted for French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Belka would go on to work for the IMF regardless, heading up its European Department, a position Belka took up in 2008. In this capacity, he led the IMF's response to the global economic crisis in Europe.
Belka has shown an interest in payments during his time as an MEP. For example, in May, he posed questions to the European Commission about plans for the digital euro, including whether transaction limits were a possibility.
He has also criticised the EU’s approach to money laundering, saying that scandals that have played out at banks such as Deutsche Bank and Danske Bank are a sign of “weakness” for the EU.
Dutch MEP to lead open finance framework
Hoogeveen takes on the open finance framework after gaining praise from some Brussels insiders for his management of the instant payments legislation.
The Dutch MEP is currently negotiating for the EU’s instant payments legislation to include an amendment to the 1998 Settlement Finality Directive (SFD).
This amendment would result in payments and e-money institutions being granted direct access to payment systems, similar to that of the UK and Singapore.
The European Commission has legislated for this in the new payments legislation. However, officials from the commission have previously said that they would not stand in the way of this amendment passing as it would mean that access is granted much earlier, which is something that many in the industry are lobbying for.
Rapporteurs significantly influence the adoption of EU legislation
The rapporteur is the MEP who is responsible for handling a legislative proposal on behalf of the European Parliament, as well as the EU's other political institutions: the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.
The position is appointed by a committee that takes a leading role on a specific piece of legislation. In this case, it is the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee that has selected Belka and Hoogeveen.
Ultimately, the key functions of the role include analysing the legislative proposal and, based on their assessment, drafting a report with amendments included.
The rapporteur is also the go-to representative for stakeholders such as lobbyists, and is ultimately responsible for driving legislation through the European Parliament plenary.
Rapporteurs also play a pivotal role in negotiations — otherwise known as “trilogues” — with the European Commission and the Council of the European Union.
Shadow rapporteurs also appointed
Shadow rapporteurs, who represent the views of other factions in the European Parliament, have also been assigned.
Lídia Pereira, a Portuguese MEP in the centre-right faction of the European Parliament, Ondřej Kovařík from the liberal Renew wing, and Slovakian lawmaker Eugen Jurzyca will shadow Belka.
Meanwhile, Kovařík joins Finnish social democrat Eero Heinäluoma, Ireland’s Frances Fitzgerald, who was a shadow rapporteur for the EU’s Digital Operational Resilience Act, and Ville Niinistö, a Green MEP, as shadow rapporteurs to Hoogeveen with the FIDA file.
Both Kovařík and Pereira are held in high regard by the fintech industry in the EU.
Last year, Pereira put forward a successful amendment to fellow MEPs recommending that authorities in the EU’s 27 member states create a simplified tax regime for crypto-assets.
In October 2020, Kovařík put forward a report on digital finance, calling on EU legislation to catch up with digitalisation in light of the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changing people’s habits.