EU calls for healthy financial sector reforms

08:34, February 11, 2011      

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Senior European officials have pledged to "set an example" by reconstructing a solid and healthy financial regulatory framework as global economies have yet to emerge from the global financial crisis.

The European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, said the regulatory efforts, in the wake of the financial crisis, should not just be aimed at integrating Europe into a single market but also towards becoming an economic power.

Barnier's comments follow confirmation by the European Parliament last week of the appointment of three new chairmen in charge of the European authorities of banking, securities and markets, insurance and occupational pensions.

The appointments are among the EU's latest efforts to close the loopholes in its financial and economic machinery.

"What we learn from the crisis is that Europe should not just become a contractor for the US or Chinese economies," said Barnier at the annual European Financial Services Conference hosted by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and the consulting company Kreab &Gavin Anderson.

"We need to reconstruct the regulatory governance and improve European competitiveness, which also requires global efforts," said Barnier.

The world is still not out of the woods from the financial crisis and economic recession, though rosy growth figures last year exceeded expectations.

In the US, a large amount of toxic assets in the banking sector are still unresolved and in Europe, the public debt turmoil is still not under control.

Meanwhile, inflation challenges are unfolding in emerging economies and the world is faced with a massive increase in commodity prices.

"So, what we faced in previous years is not only a crisis of banking liquidity but also a crisis of supervision we should increase the transparency of the market," said Barnier.

The commissioner admitted that this is not an "easy issue" and urged Europeans and other nations to work toward convergence.

He said, "We need global supervision and accounting standards and Europe should set an example in achieving that."

On Wednesday and Thursday, the European Commission organized a high-level conference on accounting and auditing issues to address questions relating to governance and the process of setting standards in an international context.

Meanwhile, France, using its presidency of the G20 and G8, is trying to play a bigger role in putting a global monetary regulatory system in place by touching on the dominant position of the US dollar, and worldwide accounting and auditing standards.

France is encouraging China to host a high-level international seminar on global monetary system reform in March, prior to the G20 summit in France in November.

Wolf Klinz, chairman of the European Parliament's Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis, said the European Union has made progress in rebuilding the regulatory framework.

For example, most of the financial services sector across the EU is showing encouraging signs of recovery from the near-meltdown of two years ago.

At a national level, every member state in the EU progressed in different directions and some are lacking satisfactory solutions.

"However, we would like to have long-term plans to improve the regulatory framework," said Klinz.



Source: China Daily
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