Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-03-28-Speech-3-080"

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". Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, Mrs Berès has just raised a number of important issues in her speech, including with regard to financial services. I can assure her that the Council considers this aspect to be of key importance. I should now like to move on to the long-term prospects and the matter of tackling regulatory issues. Besides the existing challenges that have already been mentioned, the FSC must take into account issues arising from market developments when establishing long-term, strategic priorities. In this regard, the FSC recently set up a new sub-group, which is due to present a report on long-term supervisory issues by autumn 2007. This new strand of work will be based on the following bottom-up approach: further fundamental changes in supervisory tasks should be made only where there is proof of problems. I should also like to emphasise that the overall issue of supervisory convergence must be seen in the context of the consolidation of markets and financial institutions. For this reason, I am particularly pleased that Parliament and the Council managed to agree, in the first instance, on the text of the Directive on the supervisory assessment of acquisitions in the financial sector as early as March. This is a clear indication of our common determination to improve the EU framework for the day-to-day work of our supervisory authorities. Finally, I should like to emphasise that we must take account of all the challenges of this kind facing the EU bodies in the fields specified. These include strengthening financial stability by means of supervisory arrangements and procedures, and also fostering European competitiveness – both of which benefit from facilitating the consolidation of our financial industry. The process of doing so must also be conducive to the protection of consumer interests. The Council is working together with the Commission on all the aspects specified, and we also welcome the strong interest of the European Parliament, which is also demonstrated by this debate. I should like to express my particular thanks for Parliament’s commitment to promote further progress. I should like to underline once again that the European financial system is also regarded as making an important contribution to the Lisbon Strategy and plays a pivotal role in strengthening the financial-stability framework in the EU. What is equally important, however, is that the efficiency of financial supervision be enhanced without encumbering the financial sector with an excessive supervisory burden or restricting competition. Allow me to draw attention to three key points in the Council conclusions mentioned. Firstly, the Council stressed the importance of fair and non-discriminatory national supervisory practices to achieve a level playing field within the EU. It also attached importance to striking the appropriate balance of home/host country responsibilities, and emphasised once more the importance of an adequate and independent financial supervision to ensure financial stability. Secondly, the Council invited the three level 3 committees to take into account the obstacles identified in the course of their work and in their reports, and also the report by the Financial Services Committee (FSC) on supervisory convergence, in their endeavours towards convergence of rules and practices. It is particularly important in this regard that they work on common formats for financial institutions reporting to supervisors, in order to avoid duplication of costs. Thirdly, the Council declared its support for the Commission’s intention to use its powers to also ensure compliance with the rules on competition and state aid. The Council considers it a priority to support the work of the three level 3 committees, for which they need suitable supervisory tools. The Council conclusions of May 2006 also contain a comprehensive short- and medium-term action plan for this field, based on a report by the Financial Services Committee. The thoroughly revised supervisory rules for insurance and securities firms and banks constitute a milestone, providing a new basis for cooperation between supervisors to the benefit of the financial stability and competitiveness of our financial industry. The FSC report indicated three challenges revealing the need for further action. I believe that these challenges will be particularly significant in the immediate future. Firstly, supervisory convergence and cooperation must be further strengthened. Secondly, the efficiency of the supervisory regime must be increased and, thirdly, international supervision must be improved in view of the growing number of cross-border financial groups. In the light of these challenges, the action plan approved by the Council in May of last year comprises a combination of several tools. These are aimed at fostering the creation of a European supervisory culture, a mediation and delegation mechanism, and also electronic data-sharing arrangements and common formats for reporting. I note that this last aspect has been emphasised also at European Parliament level, in the Muscat report. I welcome the convergence of views on this, too. The Financial Services Committee has been asked to monitor the progress achieved by the three level 3 committees in implementing the various tools, in particular. The FSC has also been instructed to monitor the convergence of supervisory powers at an adequate level. I know that the Commission is also devoting considerable attention to these aspects, and am confident that Parliament, too, will support this process within the framework of its dialogue with the level 3 committees. Further insights are expected as a result of the work of the Interinstitutional Monitoring Group."@en1

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