Fintech Investment abstract concept with business people on stock market background

The European Commission launched an action plan on Thursday aimed at turning Europe into a centre for fintech innovation.

The European Commission says its action plan is designed to enable the financial services sector to capitalize on innovations such as blockchain technology, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing. To start, it’s proposing new rules to encourage the growth of crowdfunding platforms, allowing them to operate throughout the European Union (EU).

Along with the new crowdfunding rules, the plan details 23 measures designed to enable companies that are launching innovative business models to scale up; supports the adoption of new technologies; and aims to increase cybersecurity and the integrity of the financial system. The European Commission will also host a fintech lab to connect regulators and the fintech industry.

In addition, the European Commission it is working on “a comprehensive strategy” for adopting distributed-ledger (blockchain) technology in various sectors and it plans to consult on digitizing public company disclosure to give investors better access to information.

Finally, the European Commission says that it’s developing a blueprint on best practices to use in “regulatory sandboxes,” which various regulators around the world (including Canada) have launched to help both fintech and established firms test innovative financial products and services in a controlled environment.

The initiative forms part of the European Commission’s efforts to build a true single market for consumer financial services in Europe, known as the Capital Markets Union (CMU).

“To compete globally, Europe’s innovative companies need access to capital, space to experiment and scale to grow. This is the premise for our fintech action plan,” says Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president responsible for financial stability, financial services and the CMU. “An EU crowdfunding licence would help crowdfunding platforms scale up in Europe. It will help them match investors and companies from all over the EU, giving more opportunities for firms and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a wider base of funders.”