European Union

In August 2012, for the first time, EU Member States sent an annual report on their ECAs activities to the European Commission, which will report on whether ECAs have complied with the EU’s obligations, including respecting human rights and fighting climate change

The EU and ECAs

In 1998 the EU adopted a “Directive on harmonisation of the main provisions concerning export credit insurance for transactions with medium and long-term cover”, with the aim of beginning to harmonise EU export credit insurance “to ensure export policy is based on uniform principles and that competition between enterprises in the Community is not distorted’.

As a participant in the OECD, the European Union had already incorporated the OECD Arrangement on ECAs in to European Community (Council decision 4 April 1978, and extended indefinitely on 14 December 1992). As the OECD Arrangement has been reviewed and amended, so the revised versions have been incorporated into EU law.

Introducing transparency and accountability

When the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in the EU, the European Parliament became co-legislator with the European Council on trade matters, including export credits. When the Commission proposed transposing the OECD Arrangement into EU law through a new Regulation, the European Parliament argued, as co-legislator, to include transparency and accountability requirements.

After two years of negotiations with the European Council and the Commission, the ECA Regulation refers for the first time to the obligation of Member States to “comply with the Union's general provisions on external action, such as consolidating democracy, respect for human rights and policy coherence for development, and the fight against climate change, when establishing, developing and implementing their national export credit systems and when carrying out their supervision of officially supported export credit activities” (See recital 4, Regulation 1233/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2011).

In August 2012, for the first time, EU Member States sent an annual report on their ECAs activities to the European Commission. This has been used by the Commission to inform its xxx report to the European Parliament on whether ECAs’ have complied with EU objectives and obligations, including the external action provisions.