The European Commission is fast-tracking its programme to reform the EU’s Capital Markets Union (CMU) by planning to publish a ‘green’ paper, or consultation document, on the subject before the end of January 2015.

A Commission official, who confirmed the deadline, added that a large team had already been set up and was working on the project.

Previously, leaked information from a Commission source put the target date for the policy paper as before Christmas this year. 

In fact, the Commission plans to arrive at a ‘white’ policy paper before the summer of 2015, as its official target. 

Slippage of both dates could be possible, the Commission official admitted. 

However, the projected speed makes the new Commission’s motives to succeed with CMU reform clear, with lawmakers conscious of the potential of the initiative to help solve the EU’s economic problems by facilitating cross-border investments.

It was only on 1 November that Jonathan Hill, the new commissioner for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union, was instructed by Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission president, to “develop and integrate capital markets as a source of financing for innovative projects and long-term investment”.

Hill has previously identified the underdeveloped European private pensions market as a hurdle to creating the CMU.

External advisers to the team working on the CMU have recommended that the Commission define policies well ahead of future action. 

Diego Valiante, head of research at the Brussels-based European Capital Market Institute, said objectives should be clearly expressed but not “blurred”.

Somewhat guarded in his enthusiasm is Syed Kamall, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group.

The MEP welcomed any Commission proposal that would lead to “well functioning” capital markets in the EU.

However, he warned that if the plans turned out to be more “institutional”, and aimed at building yet another ‘regulatory union’, then “there will be resistance”.

Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive at the European Policy Centre, a Brussels think tank, was even more pessimistic in the view that, on matters of economic reform, progress is hindered simply because the EU member states “are not ready for it”.

For more on the role of sustainability and green investment in the CMU, see the current issue of IPE