ECOFIN, European Parliament discuss the proposed IAS regulation

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20 Dec 2001

ECOFIN, the European Council of Finance Ministers, met on 13 December 2001 and agreed a 'general orientation' on a proposed Regulation that would require all EU listed companies, including banks and insurance companies, to prepare their consolidated financial statements using IAS.

ECOFIN agreed that this requirement should go into effect in 2005 at the latest. However, companies that currently apply US GAAP as their primary financial reporting standards would not have to apply IAS until 2007. The 2007 extended deadline for companies using US GAAP was inserted at the request of the German government. EU Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said:

The International Accounting Standards Regulation will introduce a new era of transparency and put an end to the current Tower of Babel in financial reporting. It will help European firms to compete on equal terms when raising capital on world markets and allow investors and other stakeholders to compare companies' performance against a common standard. However, I regret the Ministers' decision to grant some big companies the right to apply US GAAP standards until 2007, two years after the Lisbon deadline for completing the Internal Market in financial services.

The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament met on 18-19 December 2001 to discuss the IAS regulation. The Council can adopt a Common Position on the Regulation once it has received an Opinion from the European Parliament.

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