The Assessment: European Financial Integration
This paper reviews the objectives that lie behind the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP) to integrate European financial markets and the degree to which these have been achieved to date. It records that there has been substantial progress in many areas, but less elsewhere. It concludes that effective enforcement of home-country authorization and single-passport principles is critical to the attainment of full market integration. It argues that this requires the application of competition policy to cross-border mergers and possibly an extension of the scope of competition policy in financial services. Continued efforts will be required to remove regulatory differences that make foreign entry and operations more costly than domestic ones and to improve the consolidation of and the international access to clearing and settlement systems. The article supports attempts to integrate retail financial services in the post-FSAP period, while acknowledging the limitations that exist to the geographical expansion of these markets. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.
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