European monetary system and european currency

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The country-specific, non-harmonised, part of the platform is also quite relevant and very diversified. It includes, among other things, the different organisational arrangements for the conduct of banking supervision (central bank, separate agency or a mixed arrangement); the tools used by banking supervisors (e.g. supervisory reporting, on-site inspections); provisions for the liquidation and restructuring of banks; and the definition and legal protection of financial instruments and contracts. Even the key notion of a regulated market is harmonised only to a very limited extent.

15. Such "neutrality" and "incompleteness" on the part of the EU legislator with respect to key aspects that are normally incorporated in the regulatory framework is a unique feature of EU banking regulations and is likely to trigger a deregulatory process, pushed by competition among the national systems and the different financial centres in the euro area, and beyond that in the EU. Against the background of the increasing competition and other changes in the banking industry, one can expect that the regulatory platform will evolve in the years to come. Additional EU legislation may prove necessary to complete and strengthen the harmonised part. One important part of common legislation, namely the draft Directive on liquidation and re-organisation measures for credit institutions, has not yet been adopted and, indeed, has been stalled for years. This Directive is needed to bring legal certainty to the framework for banking crisis management. In this regard, it would be useful for the Eurosystem, if necessary, to be able to exclude counterparties from the single monetary policy on prudential grounds. Also, the non-harmonised part of the platform will come under pressure to converge, as I have just mentioned, through the process of "regulatory competition". Like any other rapidly changing industry, the banking sector will require careful attention by regulators. As indicated earlier, the ECB will have the possibility of contributing to the rule-making process through its advisory tasks under Article 105 (4) of the Treaty and Article 25.1 of the Statute of the ESCB.

16. On the whole, and taking a euro area perspective, the legislative-cum-regulatory platform of the banking industry, although rather unusual and very diversified in comparison with those of most currency jurisdictions, does not seem to present loopholes or inconsistencies that may hamper the pursuit of systemic stability. Seen from the point of view of the regulatory burden, it is a light system. It will become even more so if competition among national banking systems and financial centres encourages national regulators to free their banks from regulatory burdens that are not required by the EU Directives. Conversely, seen from the point of view of its flexibility, i.e. how quickly it can adapt to new situations, it is, on the contrary, a heavy system. This is the case both because the EU legislative process is slow (three years or even longer may be needed to pass Directives) and, perhaps more importantly, because many provisions are embodied in the Community primary legislation (i.e. Directives) rather than in Community secondary legislation (amendable through simpler comitology procedures).

The establishment of EMU does not seem to determine a need for revising the pillars of the current legal framework. What seems to be necessary, however, is a more flexible legislative procedure which allows for a faster and more effective revision of Community legislation, whenever needed in relation to market developments.

17. Let me now turn to the execution of banking supervision. It should immediately be recalled that supervision, contrary to regulation, is a national task, exercised by what the jargon of the Directives calls the "competent authority". Since the euro area has adopted a separation approach between supervisory and central banking functions, it is natural to examine first the functioning of the "euro area supervisor" (i.e. the co-operative system of national supervisors) and then turn to the tasks and needs of the "euro area central banker" (i.e. the Eurosystem).

18. The euro area supervisor can be regarded as a rather peculiar entity composed of national agencies working in three modes: stand-alone, bilateral and multilateral. Let us briefly examine each of them.

The stand-alone mode is the one in which the supervisor exclusively operates in the national (or even local) context. Today it is by far the most predominant mode. In most cases, this approach is sufficient to achieve the objectives of banking supervision because most banks in Europe are operating in a context that does not even reach the nationwide market of the country of origin. Such a decentralised model is even more effective because it allows the efficient use of information that may not be available far from the market in which the bank operates. That is why it is actually applied even within countries. In Italy, for example, over 600 of the 900 licensed credit institutions at end-1998 were entirely supervised by the Banca d'Italia branch of the town in which the bank is licensed.

Реферат опубликован: 12/08/2008