Brussels, 31 January 2023
For EU capital markets to function more efficiently, the committee voted for common data spaces to merge information relevant for capital markets, financial services and sustainable finance.
The European Single Access Point (ESAP) is set to improve public access to public information about companies, both financial and non-financial, such as on sustainability, social governance or the workplace diversity of businesses. This in turn should make SMEs more visible and support the green transition through sustainable finance, as investors and other key capital market participants as well as non-governmental organisations would be better informed when making decisions about investments.
In addition to the information made public because of EU law, MEPs proposed that from 1 January 2027 ESAP should also make available information that any EU business has made public on a voluntary basis and that each member state should designate at least one entity to collect such information. Information provided voluntarily would have to be uniform in format and comparable in substance, value, use and reliability to that submitted on a mandatory basis. Furthermore, information containing personal data should not be stored on ESAP.
MEPs also insisted that ESAP should not create any new reporting requirements but should instead build upon existing disclosure requirements, procedures and infrastructure stemming from EU legislation. The information on ESAP should be available free of charge, except for fees charged for specific services such as downloads of large volumes of information of commercial relevance.
In two additional separate votes, MEPs adopted changes to certain regulations and directives to align them with the new access point and thereby ensure easier access to public information crucial to increasing opportunities for small and medium business growth, visibility, and innovation, including easier access to voluntary information.
Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D, PT) the lead MEP, said:” The texts adopted today are a major step forward towards the creation of a European Single Access Point (ESAP). Once fully implemented, the ESAP will provide access to public financial and sustainability-related information about EU companies and investment products. Imagine all this data abridged in one single, centralised and user-friendly digital doorway. This is the purpose and primary ambition behind the establishment of this Single Access Point.
But the ESAP is not only about innovation. In fact, it holds the potential to address the long-standing challenge of data fragmentation within EU’s 27 national markets, which ultimately makes it more difficult for companies to attract investors and for investors to find opportunities. Instead, a successful ESAP carries the possibility to turn the tide and encourage better capital allocation beyond national borders by allowing market participants to have reliable and comparable corporate information at their fingertips. This is particularly relevant in today’s economic context, where greater and greener investments are needed in the EU.
As Rapporteur, I am particularly pleased that, despite the broadened scope we were able to guarantee, the ESAP will not generate any new reporting obligations for our businesses. The ESAP is essentially about improving the accessibility and availability of company data at EU level.
I also note with content the broad alignment among political Groups. Their contribution allowed us to draw up a more comprehensive and politically balanced report, and their support afforded the needed majority to advance with such crucial file. We are now one step closer to turning ESAP into reality. This send a clear message about the importance of financial integration, sustainability and transparency in the Capital Markets Union.
This House stands ready to launch interinstitutional negotiations to establish and implement the ESAP in a way that ensures a practical added value for European citizens, businesses and investors alike.
The Capital Markets Union (CMU) Action Plan adopted by the European Commission in September 2020 aims to establish a European Single Access Point (ESAP) by 2024, which would contribute to allocating capital more efficiently across the EU and to giving greater visibility to smaller national capital markets. As the financial world is expected to undergo a digital transformation in the coming years, the European Union should support data-driven finance and make essential information easily accessible to investors.
The text adopted with 49 votes to 5 in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will constitute a negotiating mandate for the upcoming talks with EU governments.