The capital markets union is an EU initiative which aims to deepen and further integrate the capital markets of the 28 EU member states.

The capital markets union aims to:

  • provide new sources of funding for businesses, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises
  • reduce the cost of raising capital
  • increase options for savers across the EU
  • facilitate cross-border investing and attract more foreign investment into the EU
  • support long-term projects
  • make the EU financial system more stable, resilient and competitive

To achieve these goals, the European Commission has proposed an action plan containing a number of steps for a gradual building of the capital markets union to be completed by 2019.

Most of the actions are focused on shifting financial intermediation towards capital markets and breaking down barriers that are blocking cross-border investments.

The action plan includes a range of tools, from EU legal acts to support for initiatives led by the industry.

The project supports and complements the Investment plan for Europe initiative, which is designed to boost investment in the EU.

In the Council

30 May 2017: the Council reached an agreement with the European Parliament on the proposals on the EU securitisation market which aim to improve the financing of the EU economy. The new rules will enter into force following their formal adoption by the Council and the European Parliament.

30 May 2017: the Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the amended EU rules (regulations 345/2013 and 346/2013) on investment in venture capital funds and societal entrepreneurship funds. The Council and the European Parliament will formally adopt the agreed rules, and they will start to apply three months after the entry into force.

16 May 2017: the Council adopted the regulation on the prospectus, following the vote on the text by the European Parliament on 5 April 2017. The regulation enters into force on the 20th day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The rules are binding and directly applicable in all EU member states.

16 November 2016: the Council agreed its negotiating position on amendments to the EU rules on investment in venture capital and societal enterprises. The amendments, introduced to the EU regulations 345/2013 and 346/2016, make European venture capital funds (EuVECA) and European social entrepreneurship funds (EuSEF) available to fund managers that manage assets of more than €500 million. Updated rules also expand the range of companies that EuVECA and EuSEF funds can invest in, including small and medium-sized enterprises. They also make cross-border marketing of such funds cheaper and easier. 

10 November 2015: the Economic and Financial Affairs Council welcomed the first package of legislative proposals and initiatives from the European Commission, published on 30 September 2015, and emphasised the need for an ambitious agenda for the longer term. 

16 June 2015: the Council adopted conclusions on the capital markets union and asked the European Commission to propose an action plan and an initial roadmap.

Next steps

The Commission will report regularly to the Council and the European Parliament on progress made in implementing the proposed actions. 

On 8 June 2017 the European Commission issued a mid-term review of the capital markets union action plan, which reports on the progress made so far and introduces a number of new initiatives. These initiatives include measures on pan-European personal pensions, covered bonds and securities, enhancing supervisory framework for integrated capital markets, and other measures. Proposals on these initiatives are expected in the second half of 2017.