EU seeks to inject momentum into capital markets project

September 14, 2016 8:52 AM EDT

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union sought to breathe new life into its flagging capital markets union (CMU) project on Wednesday by urging the European parliament and member states to accelerate approval of the reforms.

The project, which aims to make it easier for companies to raise funds through bonds and equities, has made slow progress since its launch last year. But the EU is determined to speed the process after Britain's June vote to leave the EU removed a major opponent of greater centralization of markets supervision.

The European Commission, the EU executive, set out steps on Wednesday to ensure CMU has a "tangible impact" as soon as possible.

"It's now time to finish the first building blocks of the Capital Markets Union and move forward with new priorities," Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement.

"We'll work closely with co-legislators so we can progress quickly and make the CMU a reality."

The Commission acknowledged that further work will be needed to reinforce "the European dimension of supervision" and said it will consider a recommendation from a panel of EU leaders for a single European capital markets supervisor.

Apart from seeking approval for reforms of prospectus rules and securitization, the EU executive said there is also a need to finalize changes to venture capital markets by the end of this year.

"In addition, the Commission intends to take forward a programme to support the development of national and regional capital markets in member states," it added.

The commission said it would amend insurance and banking legislation by the end of the year to "further unlock private investment in infrastructure and small and medium sized enterprises".

The EU executive will also present a draft law on business restructuring that it said would allow "honest entrepreneurs to benefit from a second chance after overcoming bankruptcy".

There will also be a proposal in November to help even out rules that currently give preferential tax treatment to debt over equity, plus a move next year to introduce a simple, efficient and competitive pan-EU pensions product.

Regulators across the EU will also develop a coordinated approach to help the bloc encourage financial technology start ups, the Commission added.

(Editing by David Goodman)

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