EU Wants US Recognition of Its Financial Rules

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Blum in Brussels

Frits Bolkestein, Europe's internal market commissioner, has urged the US to accept equivalent European Union financial regulations during a two-day visit to Washington starting Tuesday.In a speech to the Institute for International Economics, Bolkestein said: "Realising a transatlantic capital market depends on one single principle - equivalence of regulations. The breaking down of barriers between countries always requires trust, and trust is a matter of equivalence. It is a matter of recognising that the way foreign companies are regulated and controlled in their home states, is as sound as your own."

Bolkestein stressed the common aim of EU and US regulators to protect investors against abuse and help restore market confidence, which has been shaken by financial scandals. Both sides have much to gain from closer cooperation to remove barriers and to avoid conflicting legislation that has damaging knock-on effects, he argued.

The talks will be dominated by the impact of the US Sarbanes-Oxley legislation on EU firms and direct access to the US market for European stock exchanges. …