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Issues

Letter to Robert Goebbels MEP concerning the second reading of the Market Abuse Directive (4 September 2023)

 

Mr. Robert Goebbels MEP
European Parliament
Bât. Altiero Spinelli
11G103
60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
B-1047 Bruxelles/Brussel
Fax +32 (0)2 284 9648

4th September, 2002

 

Dear Mr Goebbels,

Market Abuse Directive – 2nd Reading

 

As representatives of Europe’s media we have written to you with our concerns in your capacity as Rapporteur for the Market Abuse Directive during the 1st reading in the European Parliament. As the second reading is due to commence shortly we would like to bring to your attention the Committee of European Securities Regulators’ (CESR)[1] consultation paper, which confirms our original fears that Article 6(4) – now renumbered Article6 (5) – extends fair presentation and public disclosure obligations to financial journalists. You will recall your own assurances to us that this Article was targeted only at professional investment analysts and that the European media had nothing to fear, as the Article was not intended to apply also to financial journalism.

The CESR proposals, if implemented, will subject financial journalism to new, intrusive and unworkable regulation. This will effectively replace the self-regulatory regimes now operating in Member States supervised by bodies with extensive knowledge and experience of working with the media sector. We do not believe that it can have been the intention of the European Parliament to undertake such a radical change to the regulation of European media.

The knowledge and experience that these self-regulatory bodies have built up over many years means that they can apply workable regimes that reflect the different types of media. The "one size fits all" approach that would result from the CESR proposals will impede financial journalism.

We have very much appreciated your own, and the Parliament’s understanding of our general concerns about this directive. As you know we were relatively satisfied with the changes made in the first reading vote and the subsequent adoption of new wording for Article 1.2 by the Council, which acknowledges the specific role of journalists and tries to ensure that the full provisions of the Directive do not apply to normal reporting procedures.

However, as shown above, there remain substantial problems with Article 6.4, now Article 6.5, which we discussed with you in the past and which were not resolved in either the Parliament at first reading or by the Council in their Common Position. Although the Parliament amended the text in the hope that it would be aimed mainly at financial analysts, it seems clear that the CESR paper contains elements that, if confirmed, would certainly threaten financial journalism. We have attached the relevant parts of the text and an explanatory paper detailing our specific concerns.

Now that it is completely clear that European securities regulators intend to extend Article 6 (5) to financial journalism, we urge the European Parliament to revise the Directive to ensure that the operation of the Article, as you and other MEPs assured us was your intention, will only apply to regulated investment firms and will not erect barriers to freedom of expression and responsible journalism We have, on several occasions, been assured that this Article was intended to encompass the activities of financial analysts and others in the financial services industry only. The text, however, places restrictions on anyone “producing or disseminating research” (no matter whether or not that research actually recommends any actual investment activity, general or specific) or producing or disseminating information “recommending investment strategy” (i.e. encompassing even general investment advice, not only material advocating a particular investment).

We would urge further consideration of the wording to remove bona fide journalism from the ambit of 6.5. We suggest adding to the current wording.

"This article shall not apply to journalists when they act in their professional capacity."

This wording will serve to limit Article 6.5 to financial analysts and restore the intention of the Parliament’s amendment. The original text which was passed in first reading stated in the justification “This amendment is necessary to clarify the intention of this article. This should serve to limit the scope of the Article to the financial sector.” It is unusual to re-table an amendment when the Council has accepted the Parliament’s text, but under rule 80 of the Parliament’s rules of procedure, it is possible when a new fact or legal situation which has arisen since the first reading necessitates a change, notably in this case the CESR paper.

It would also be extremely helpful if you could highlight the inconsistency of the CESR’s interpretation of the Parliament’s first reading in your response to their paper which needs to be submitted before the end of September. We would very much like to meet with you in early September to discuss the CESR paper and possible amendments to the Directive which may be proposed in second reading in order to find a remedy to a potentially dangerous threat to the integrity of financial journalism.

Yours sincerely,

ANGELA C MILLS

on behalf of:

  • European Publishers’ Council (EPC)
    Angela C Mills, Tel. +44.1865 310732 angela.mills@epceurope.org
  • European Federation of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ)
    Renate Schroeder, +32.2 2352202, Renate.Schroeder@ifj.org
  • European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA)
    Dietmar Wolff, Tel. +32.2 5510190, wolff@enpa.be
  • European Federation of Magazine Publishers (FAEP)
    David Mahon, Tel +32.2 7362673, faep@eutop.com
  • Association of Commercial Television (ACT)
    Ross Biggam, Tel. +32 2736 0052, rb@acte.be
  • Association of European Radio (AER)
    Milagros Mostaza, Tel. +32. 2 736 91 31, aer@aereurope.org
  • European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
    Nicola Frank, Tel : +32.2.286.91.12, frank@ebu.ch

 

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[1] The Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR--formerly FESCO) has published its consultation paper: "Possible Implementing Measures of the Proposed Market Abuse Directive" The CP is available on the FESCO website www.europefesco.org - click on consultation papers.

 

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