We were pleased to welcome Jan Ceyssens Head of Digital Finance Unit at DG FISMA | European Commission. This discussion covered a wide range of topics on the future of EU fintech policy. Particularly looking at the European Commission’s Digital Agenda and the 2018 FinTech Action Plan.
Fintech is cross-sector by nature as it involves various areas such as data, finance as well as AI, for this reason, it is crucial for the Commission to have a holistic approach when it comes to fintech. This is apparent with the Commission’s Digital Agenda, whereby DG FISMA worked closely with DG CONNECT on its creation. This agenda aims to create digital opportunities for businesses and people to ensure that the EU is fit for the digital age. Although the EU is lagging behind the US and China it is clear that it has the potential to catch up and soon become a global leader in this sector.
The FinTech Action Plan was adopted by the commission in March 2018 to stimulate a more innovative and competitive European financial sector. This action plan sets out the agenda on digital finance for the next five years. Prior to 2018 the commission did not have a clear strategy for Fintech. The primary aim of this action plan is to avert digital transformation to all member states to ensure that the businesses of Europe are able to successfully tackle this transformation. Moreover, this action plan is committed to breaking down barriers in the single market through the use of new and transformative technologies such as blockchain and AI. Therefore, with the rapid growth of fintech this new development is crucial for the materialisation of a stronger Europe.
The data strategy will play an important role in the successful implementation of the Fintech Action Plan. It aims to ensure that the necessary data is available for the innovation of Artificial Intelligence. This strategy will act as a means to foster Europe’s data sovereignty and global competitiveness through the creation of a single market for data. This will, in turn, improve cybersecurity as well as the integrity of the financial system. It is however clear that this does face some challenges as there are currently no legislations or concrete action plans in place. Moreover, implementing legislations for blockchain and AI will prove to be a complex task as these technologies don’t always fit easily into the existing regulatory framework.
In terms of looking forward it is imperative for the Commission to continue to give a clear message about where Europe is heading. Moreover, to ensure that this digital transformation occurs in an inclusive manner a series of outreach events will be taking place starting in March until early May 2020. This will help the Commission further understand the needs of businesses and consumers, as it is apparent that decisions on the future of EU Fintech policy cannot be made without consulting those it affects the most.
Head of Unit at DG FISMA | EU Commission
Jan Ceyssens is Head of the “Digital Finance” Unit in the Directorate General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union at the European Commission. He was previously Member and Deputy Head of the Cabinet of Vice President Dombrovskis and Member of the Cabinet of Vice-President Barnier, and Team Leader for Financial Supervision at the European Commission's Internal Markets and Services Directorate General. He graduated in law from Humboldt University in Berlin and holds a Masters degree in European Law from King's College London. He works at the European Commission since 2006, initially in the Directorate General for Competition's Cartels enforcement Directorate and since 2009 in the Internal Markets and Services Directorate General.