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Supervision of financial services in the EU and crisis management on financial markets – a clear priority of Slovenia’s Presidency

Today in Brussels, the Slovenian Minister of Finance and current President of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), Dr Andrej Bajuk, participated in a discussion with national parliaments on the supervision of financial services in the EU and crisis management on financial markets, which was organised by the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). In his speech, Dr Bajuk emphasised, “The Presidency’s main objective in terms of financial stability is implementation of the work programme that has been adopted, expediting it and expanding it with new measures where necessary.”

The discussion was moderated by Mrs Pervenche Beres, the Chairwoman of the EP Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, and the other speakers – in addition to the Minister of Finance, Dr Andrej Bajuk – were the President of the European Central Bank, Mr Jean-Claude Trichet, and Baron Alexandre Lamfalussy.

Minister Bajuk pointed out that Slovenia’s Presidency is devoting great attention to issues of financial stability and that it has, therefore, added a special supplement on the subject to the ECOFIN Council Work Programme. ECOFIN will focus on the following three sets of questions: the response to the current situation on the financial markets, further activities relating to Lamfalussy procedure changes, focused mainly on ensuring supervision and reinforcing EU agreements on financial crisis management.

In its spring meeting in March 2008, the European Council will review the developments and situation on the financial markets on the basis of ECOFIN’s contribution. The whole financial stability dossier will be the main topic of an informal ECOFIN meeting to be held in Slovenia in April. Here, Finance Ministers will discuss further steps in the development of a system of financial stability in accordance with the activity plan adopted in autumn 2007. Part of this is also signature of a memorandum on cooperation between Finance Ministries, supervisors and regulators in the area of crisis management. Dr Bajuk believes that practical guidelines for crisis management should reflect common agreement on the measures and procedures needed to deal with cross-border crisis situations. To produce the best EU framework, general principles need to be established on burden sharing, implementation guidelines and cooperation mechanisms. The procedure should enhance crisis preparedness in normal as well as in critical situations. The settlement of cross-border issues is important particularly in view of the fact that the share of bank assets in EU Member States outside the home Member State has increased from 11% ten years ago to 24% in 2006.

Further to the current situation on the financial markets, which, according to the Slovenian Minister of Finance, is not satisfactory, he stressed: “The real economy in the European Union still lies on a sound foundation. The recent upheaval in the financial markets was a test of the efficiency of the present institutional organisation of financial supervision in the EU, since it occurred in organised markets, highlighting the importance of rational and efficient crisis management, market transparency and the need for increased cooperation at all supervisory levels in individual areas.”

Lastly, Dr Bajuk remarked on the extreme importance of communication with the public, given the very sensitive nature of financial markets. This aspect will therefore be among the priorities on the agenda of Slovenia’s Presidency.

The Minister concluded, “Let me finish this presentation with the slogan which is the watchword of the Slovenian Presidency – “Si.nergy for Europe” – by working together we will succeed in making progress and attaining our goal.”



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Date: 23.01.2008