EU markets are at a historic high, says EU commissioner

The EU is ahead of the US with many financial products.

European Union (EU) financial services markets are in their best shape ever, according to Commissioner for the Internal Market Charlie McCreevy. Speaking at the annual Association of Corporate Treasurers dinner, he praised the increasing competitiveness and openness of the system and urged industry to push further in order to make the European sphere the world’s leader and standard-bearer.

Specifically, McCreevy focused on Europe’s progress compared with that of the US. He said: “Comparing EU financial markets today [with] those of our main competitor, the US, European markets are clearly leading in the areas of commercial banking, forex, OTC derivatives, insurance, reinsurance and foreign equity trading.” McCreevy urged against complacency in the pursuit of the Commission’s goals, even if this may well mean yet more regulation.

He also praised industry for its full co-operation in legislation consultation processes, highlighting the across-the-board agreement on the content of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Mifid) as an example. McCreevy views it as a “balanced, proportionate and sensible set of measures [that] will enhance competitiveness”.

In utilising the strength of the EU’s collective decision making, McCreevy hopes that others will follow Europe’s lead. Processes of harmonisation and openness should be developed internationally in his view, and the EU should maintain its lead in setting the principles for others to follow.

Even in this wider context though, he still believes that in EU terms, “while much has been done, there is still much more to do.”

McCreevy was speaking at the Association of Corporate Treasurers’ annual dinner.

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