IFRSs a benefit of globalisation

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17 Jul 2007

Charlie McCreevy, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, spoke recently in Dublin before the Public Affairs Ireland conference on (PDF 77k).

Commissioner McCreevy suggested that international standards such as IFRSs and Basel II are "a powerful tool to extract the best from globalisation".

With integrating markets and globalisation, the world financial system has become huge, global and complex. We, the regulators, and the supervisors have big challenges ahead. To properly assess the risks, to cooperate at a global level, to understand a fast changing landscape. All of this without impeding innovation and the sound growth of capital markets. One of our tools is the regulatory dialogues on financial services. With the US, Japan, China, Russia and India.

We are pragmatic; we want to solve problems – not to discuss endlessly with our counterparts with inflexible procedures. To address real regulatory issues creating business problems. To consult the industry. To fight legal nightmares. We believe in competition and a level playing field for companies, but not in spillover regulation nor in over regulation.

We have therefore had three main objectives in our dialogues.

First, demonstrating that the European approach to regulation works. Merging 27 rule books into one is a good experience. Finding agreements with 27 Member states and the European Parliament demands patience and courage. But this generally leads to carefully crafted legislation. We want to show the rest of the world this and why we think it works.

Second, striving for a level playing field for all companies. International competition and open markets are driving modernisation. They foster growth and innovation. I have always been very vocal with Member States and national regulators when protectionist tendencies spring up. It is the same for third countries. Protectionism is not for 21st century regulators.

Third, convergence towards international standards. Carefully crafted, they are a powerful tool to extract the best from globalisation. Take, for example, IFRS accounting standards. Soon we hope that they will be accepted in every significant financial centre: the EU, US, China and Japan. One set of accounting rules for being listed in the world's best financial markets. Look also at Basel II. This risk based approach is also on the way to becoming a global standard. And, as I have already mentioned, we have tabled our Solvency II proposals for the insurance industry.

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