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Financial services - General Policy

10 July 2009
by inadim -- last modified 12 July 2009

Completing the single market in financial services is a crucial part of the European Commission's overriding objective of achieving more and better jobs in a more dynamic, innovative and attractive Europe.


The European Commission's overarching policy and strategy in financial services and financial markets ensures coherence and consistency between the various policy areas, such as banking, insurance, securities and investment funds, financial markets infrastructure, retail financial services and payment systems.

From 1999 to 2005, this overarching policy was delivered in the framework of the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP), and the European Commission continues to regularly monitor progress made in implementing the FSAP, for instance through making twice-monthly updates to its FSAP transposition tables. Work also continues on co-ordinating the initiatives driven by the FSAP, including the restructured financial services committee architecture. The recently reviewed Lamfalussy process remains the basis for the EU regulatory and supervisory approach. Strenthening the convergence of supervisory practices is the overarching objective. In December 2005, the Commission published the White Paper on Financial Services 2005-2010, which sets out the Commission's objectives in financial services policy for the period to 2010.

Each year, the Commission publishes an empirical indicator-based analysis to measure the progress of financial integration in the European Union (European Financial Integration Report). This analysis can inform policy debate by identifying the extent to which integration is translating into enhanced competition and greater efficiency of EU financial markets. It also seeks to monitor ways in which financial instability might be transmitted across borders, so as to inform discussions on the need to adapt EU prudential safeguards. The report includes an annual overview of the EU policy achievements in the domain of financial services, previously published as Progress Report.

On external relations, the Commission has developed a strategy for a coherent and strengthened EU policy in the field of financial services. Work focuses in particular on taking forward the regulatory or other dialogues with the EU's main trading partners, namely the United States (in the context of the EU-US Financial Market Dialogue) and Japan, but also the emerging financial services markets in China, India, Russia and elsewhere.

The White Paper on Financial Services 2005-2010

In its White Paper on Financial Services 2005-2010, the European Commission set out its objectives in the area of financial services policy for the period to 2010. These objectives aim to build on the FSAP to achieve an integrated, open, inclusive, competitive, and economically efficient EU financial market by:

  • Implementing, enforcing and continuously evaluating existing legislation and ensuring any future initiatives are backed up by rigorous impact assessment and thorough consultation;
  • Removing any remaining barriers so that financial services can be provided and capital can circulate freely throughout the EU at the lowest possible cost, resulting in high levels of financial stability, consumer benefits and consumer protection;
  • Enhancing supervisory cooperation and convergence in the EU, deepening relations with other global financial marketplaces and strengthening European influence globally.

Source: European Commission