DGXV Commissioner Mario Monti has called upon the Financial Services Policy Group (FSPG), brought in at the request of the European Council at December's Vienna summit, to give new impetus to ensuring a fully functional single market for financial services".
Addressing the group, which had its second sitting at the end of February, having been conceived to provide more widespread political clout amongst member states for the controversial and long awaited Green Paper on European financial services, Monti said: "Your appointment as personal representatives of Economic and Finance Ministers of the EU (Ecofin) demonstrates your governments' commitment to achieving much-needed progress here and to keep up the momentum generated by the Vienna summit's mandate."
Monti once again stressed that the single market for financial services was imperative to Emu and the euro's success: "We need to work together with open minds to forge agreement on incremental, pragmatic steps which will facilitate cross-border service provision, whilst ensuring confidence on the part of users."
The remit of the policy group is to examine closely proposed directives on UCITS, prudential rules for banking and investment, including solvency requirements, and minimum pension and insurance fund guarantees.
Issues of financial institution mergers and appropriate supervisory systems to accomodate such conglomarates are also high on the FSPG's agenda.
Chris Verhaegen of the European Federation for Retirement Provision, commented:"It has been said the final directive of the commission will be based on the findings of the the Financial Services Policy Group , so this explains the delay in its implementation . And we are waiting impatiently to see what they will produce."
A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed that the creation of the policy group had delayed the Green Paper's release, but that its inception had been essential to link member state financial departments and enable closer co-ordination of any final policy.
"The Green paper, which should have been produced at the end of last year will now definitely be out before the end of April, and possibly as early as March.
The final directive itself will then be implemented in June." Hugh Wheelan"