We were pleased to welcome Ana Budin, Financial Services Attaché| Permanent Representation of Croatia to the EU. The presentation covered a wider variety of topics regarding the financial priorities of the future Croatian Presidency, set to take office in January 2020. Particularly focusing on inclusivity, the Capital Markets Union and how Croatia intends to achieve these aims.
It is important to note that the Croatian Presidency has yet to come out with a programme, the agenda is forming at this very moment. Croatia finds itself in a grand project, as the Presidency tries to be the moderator for transition towards a new commission. The headline priorities of the Presidency are focused on ensuring a sustainable, inclusive and balanced growth, with a horizontal focus on sustainability, particularly looking at climate change and the circular economy. The Presidency will embrace the Commission’s focus on the Green Deal. Other priorities include connectivity and digital cooperation through the removal of barriers. Followed by the protection of EU citizens such as in the Shanghai area, and finally centred around the focus of making sure that the EU remains open and becomes more of a global competitor.
In terms of finance, relaunching of the Capital Markets Union is important, this is to be achieved through the continuation of the robust process from the previous Finnish Presidency. Moreover, FISM provides trust and great potential to remove barriers in national laws. The Council and member states are asking for financial services, thus this needs to feature high on the agenda. The focus on SMEs remains on the agenda as they act as a means to ensure access to finance as well as improve EU competitiveness and ensure that member states have access to finance. It is as a result important to give a new coat to the Capital Markets Union, as it needs to resonate more with the consumers on the topic of internal market. Fintech is also an area of great opportunity; it is however apparent that there is a reluctance to develop this area. It is clear that innovation is a key ingredient in this prospect, and as a result Fintech should not be too quickly regulated. This does however lie in the hands of the commission and of member states.
Other priorities of the Croatian Presidency include making Croatia part of the Eurozone, this is rather ambitious as Croatia has only been part of the EU since 2013. Moreover, it is clear that Croatia over relies on bank finance, there is little awareness of savings and investing in shares, unlike other member states. Therefore, it is important for Croatia to evolve in this sector and diminish its current reliance. The Presidency also faces challenges in terms of Croatia trying to establish links with the Parliament as it is relatively new. This is also a critical time for the future Presidency as seen with the new Commission set to take office in December, but also with Brexit. It is evident that with Brexit the UK’s position is shifting away from being the financial centre of the EU. Therefore, the new Presidency will have to facilitate this transition and embrace the upcoming changes.
To conclude the future Croatian Presidency is determined to deliver results, listen as well as be fair and constructive. The devotion process is ongoing and for this reason it is important to wait. Croatia recognises that there shouldn’t be too much on the agenda, as its priorities must remain coherent and maintain a reasonable schedule. The priorities of the presidency have yet to be set as all the files are currently being looked at thus meaning that for the moment nothing is definite. Therefore, with the Croatian Presidency set to take office in January 2020, it is still very early to say how these policies will be materialised.
Financial Services Attaché | Permanent Representation of Croatia to the EU
Ana Budin has served as attaché for financial services at the Permanent Representation of Croatia to the EU since November 2013, starting shortly after Croatia's accession to the EU. In her role she participates on behalf of Croatia in discussions on legislative dossiers related to capital markets and insurance at the Council of the EU. Ana joined the EU coordination unit of the Croatian Ministry of Finance in 2011., prior to which she worked at international and non profit organizations in the field of development.