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Financial Services – General Policy

Financial Services policy should deliver stable, secure and efficient financial markets and ensure coherence and consistency between the different policy areas, such as banking, insurance, securities and investment funds, financial markets infrastructure, retail financial services and payment systems.

Following the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008, the stabilisation of financial markets became a priority and financial sector reform a crucial instrument to achieve it. Filling in the gaps in financial sector regulation and strengthening the supervision of the financial sector in Europe have been the two main strands of work. To this end, the European Union has established European supervisory authorities with real teeth.

Legislation has also been adopted to tackle excessive volatility in financial markets, including on hedge funds, short-selling strategies, credit rating agencies and “over-the-counter” derivatives. Work is also currently on-going on very significant legislative packages revamping the regulation of banks and capital markets, as well as on a framework for crisis prevention and management for banks and for deposit guarantee schemes.

The process of transformation in Europe’s financial sector needs to continue as new challenges and priorities emerge. In particular, to break negative interconnections between banks and governments, there is a need to build a genuine banking union in Europe, while fully preserving the single market for financial services. The Commission has also presented legislative proposals and a comprehensive roadmap in this regard.

At global level, the EU collaborates with its international partners by actively taking part in the G20 and other international fora in order to improve global financial supervision and crisis management. In particular, the Commission is a member of the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The Commission has also developed 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 Brazil.

Regulatory convergence and approximation with the Community acquis in the area of financial services is also promoted in the framework of the negotiations of bilateral and multilateral agreements with Third countries, including the new generation of Deep and Comprehensive FTAs.