Calviño discusses the priorities of the year and the EU Council presidency with the chairs of the main financial institutions

News - 2023.9.4

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The First Vice-President and Acting Minister for Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, has met with the chairs of the main Spanish financial institutions, as part of the ongoing dialogue with the sector, to review the Spanish economic situation and prospects, share the opportunity that the arrival of European funds represents for the sector and report on the progress made on European legislative files in the financial field and other priorities during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

In addition, she reported on the progress made in the technical work to analyse the application of the different mechanisms and codes of good practice available and to continue improving the protection of families affected by the rise in mortgage rates, while continuing to guarantee financial stability, and she highlighted the need to continue supporting economic growth through a competitive credit offer and improved remuneration of deposits.

The meeting was attended by the Chair of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, the Chairman of BBVA, Carlos Torres, the Chairman of Caixabank, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, the Chairman of Banco Sabadell, Josep Oliu, the CEO of Bankinter, Dolores Dancausa, the CEO of Ibercaja, Víctor Iglesias, the Chairman of Grupo Cajamar, Luis Rodríguez, the Chairman of Kutxabank, Antón Arriola and the Chairman of ABANCA, Juan Carlos Escotet, as well as the Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Support, Gonzalo García, and the Secretary General of the Treasury, Carlos Cuerpo.

Economic situation

The meeting reviewed the current national and international economic situation. Participants highlighted the good performance of the Spanish economy. In a complex international context, marked by uncertainty and the global slowdown, Spain is performing well, thanks to the reforms and investments of the Recovery Plan, the measures adopted to combat inflation and the dynamism of the foreign sector.

The impact of the European Central Bank's interest rate hike on households and businesses was also discussed.

The Vice-President pointed out the importance of the financial sector continuing to contribute positively to growth in the current context of rising interest rates, with a supply of credit to Spanish households and companies that maintains the competitive advantage over other European countries and the improvement in the remuneration of deposits.

At the meeting it was noted that the system maintains low levels of arrears and defaults, thanks to the good performance of the economy and employment and the solvency of companies. The Ministry is working with the Bank of Spain to analyse the application of the different mechanisms available and to improve the protection of families affected by the mortgage hike, while continuing to ensure financial stability.

Addendum to the Recovery Plan

The Vice-President shared with banks and savings banks the opportunity that the implementation of the Recovery Plan represents for the transformation of the Spanish productive fabric and highlighted the important role that banks and savings banks can play in channelling funds to companies.

In particular, it has been agreed to work together to put in place before the end of the year an efficient mechanism for channelling the loans from European Next Generation funds foreseen in the Addendum to the Recovery Plan, currently pending approval by the European institutions.

A boost to financial files during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU

During the meeting, the status of the main European legislative files in the economic and financial field, led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation in the context of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, was shared with the chairs of the financial institutions. The reform of tax rules and the various draft financial services regulations were also addressed.

With these objectives in mind, during the first two months of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union, the first agreements have already been reached and significant progress is being made on various files such as the Due Diligence Directive and the Instant Payment Regulation.

There are also other files of major importance for the financial sector which are being vigorously pursued. These include the reform of the payment services and payment method regulations in Europe, the improvement of the resolution framework for banks in the EU, as well as legislative proposals to complete the Banking Union and the Capital Markets Union, which will contribute to a larger and more diversified financing of the economy, including the investments needed for the green and digital transition.

Green Transition and Digitisation

Finally, the Vice-President reported on the forthcoming publication in public hearing of the Green Paper on the promotion of sustainable finance, with a special focus on support for SMEs in the green transition process.

In the area of cybersecurity, it was agreed to strengthen collaboration and cooperation with the sector to protect against digital fraud and cyber-attacks.

Non official translation