Rebuilding the financial services sector for the future
The financial crisis that began in 2007 hit Europe very hard. The European Commission has taken swift action since the beginning of the crisis to overcome it and to create a more transparent and stable financial system. EU competition policy has a central role to play, as the Commission works together with other public authorities to provide legal certainty in the fields of State aid and merger control.
Read more about the Commission's actions and efforts to stabilise our markets, including state aid decisions in the financial sector .
Competition in the financial services sector
The European Commission has the power to apply the competition rules to the financial services sector. This sector includes the banking and insurance markets, which are integral parts of European citizens' lives, and the capital markets. These financial markets are the lifeblood of the real economy, giving businesses and consumers access to financial products. The better and more competitively they function, the better the economy will perform.
The Commission’s competition department works to enhance competition in these markets, and has handled many antitrust, merger, and state aid cases in the financial services sector.
The Commission seeks to use competition policy pro-actively to identify and help tackle barriers in the Single Market, in order to deliver benefits to businesses and consumers The Commission’s sector inquiries into retail banking and business insurance provided significant knowledge of the sector and made a fundamental contribution to the continuing efforts to strengthen competition in financial services.
In the framework of antitrust cases in the area of payment cards, the European Commission is currently conducting a study of merchants' costs of processing payments by card and by cash. Merchants are invited to participate in the two surveys currently being carried out as part of this project. To find out more or to take part in the study, please see the Payment systems page.