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No 26 (May 2001/Mai 2001/Mai 2001)
The Commission presented its second annual review of the Internal Market Strategy in April. Progress so far is disappointing - only 55% of actions due to be achieved by June 2001 are now expected to be adopted on time. The European Council in Stockholm responded by urging Member States to improve their performance in transposing Internal Market Directives into national law. The Strategy sets out the direction that Internal Market policy must follow in the next 18 months, focusing attention on the key priorities for action. Significant progress is crucial in sectors such as transport, utilities, postal services, public procurement and financial services if we are to succeed in this ambition. Reflecting the conclusions reached at Stockholm, new elements have also been introduced into the Strategy, notably initiatives to increase labour market mobility within the EU and promote the full potential of biotechnology.
Progress in achieving the Financial Services Action Plan was also high on the political agenda at Stockholm. Particular emphasis was placed on taking the steps necessary to create an integrated securities market by the end of 2003. Following the summits endorsement of the approach proposed in the Lamfalussy Report (see SMN 25), the Commission is now preparing for the creation of two new committees (the Securities and Regulators Committees).
More generally, the flow of proposals for financial services is continuing. The Commission has recently presented several important legislative proposals. The proposed Directive on Collateral would replace a complex system of fifteen national sets of rules on the provision of collateral. This would provide a single, clear, uniform framework of legal certainty for the use of collateral in transactions between Member States. The existing sector-specific legislative framework for supervision of financial service providers is inadequate to contain and supervise risks associated with financial conglomerates. The Directive proposed by the Commission would introduce measures to ensure that financial conglomerates face an equivalent level of supervision as that imposed on single sector financial groups. Further proposals for Directives are promised within the next few weeks, including on market abuse and on prospectuses. The proposed Directive on the Reorganisation and Winding-up of Credit Institutions was adopted by the Council on 12 March.
An important step forward has been made with the Councils adoption in April of the Directive on Copyright in the Information Society. This Directive is an essential building block in the creation of a harmonised legal framework to encourage the development of the Information Society and complements the E-Commerce Directive adopted last year.
Improving the quality, transparency and responsiveness of the EUs legislative process is vital not only to optimising the effectiveness of the Internal Market, but also to raising public confidence in, and the understanding of, the EU. The Commission has developed a new tool: Interactive Policy Making (IPM). It will use the internet to collect and analyse a constant flow of up-to-date feedback from citizens, consumers and business on where and why problems are occurring in relation to EU policies. It will provide an important new source of information in assessing the impact of existing EU policies on the ground. IPM will also provide a structured mechanism for open consultation of the public on proposals for new initiatives.