Lukewarm response to EC retail financial services green paper

BRUSSELS - Responses to the European Commission (EC) green paper on retail financial services - which set out its objective to open up the retail banking sector to competition to benefit EU consumers - vary, but the overwhelming consensus was for national retail financial regulation to remain.

Jörgen Holmquist, internal market and services director general, who presented the responses to the EC at a public hearing on September 19, said diverging consumer protection rules were seen as a major obstacle and underlined the need for harmonisation in this sector. Consumer groups, however, were vehemently opposed to maximum harmonisation, fearing it could dilute overall protection for the consumer.

Ieke van den Burg, Dutch Socialist MEP and a member of the committee for internal market and

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