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Brussels, 2 April 2001

Securities markets: Commission services launch consultations on clearing and settlement

The services of the European Commission have launched consultations on cross-border clearing and settlement in the European Union. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of existing obstacles to cross-border securities market transactions in the Union and to begin to identify the public policy issues and knock-on effects that could arise from potential future models for clearing and settlement infrastructure. The information gathered through this exercise will be used by an advisory group to the Commission on financial market issues chaired by Alberto Giovannini (the so-called 'Giovannini Group'), which is currently working on cross-border clearing and settlement arrangements. The Commission will also use this information in the context of the current review of the Investment Services Directive (see IP/00/1315) and as part of its wider efforts to identify and remove barriers to cross-border clearing and settlement activity in Europe. The consultations are being conducted on the basis of a questionnaire available on the Europa website: or (click on What's New)

In the context of completing the Internal Market for financial services and improving efficiency of the euro financial markets, the European Commission is examining the current arrangements for cross-border clearing and settlement within the European Union. The Lamfalussy Report on the Regulation of European Securities Markets has recently underlined the role of a more efficient, integrated clearing and settlement landscape in delivering the maximum economic benefit from the broader process of EU financial integration (see IP/01/215).

The Lamfalussy Report also refers to the work of the Giovannini Group, which will produce an analysis of EU cross-border clearing and settlement during the summer. The Giovannini Group is a group of financial-market participants, under the chairmanship of Alberto Giovannini (Deputy General Manager of Banca di Roma), which advises the European Commission on financial market issues. The Group was formed in 1996 and has focused its work on identifying inefficiencies in EU financial markets and proposing practical solutions to improve market integration and to reap full benefits of the euro.

This exercise is without prejudice to the separate consultations on clearing and settlement services that have been undertaken by the European Commission's competition Directorate-General in the context of European Treaty provisions on competition.

The Commission is due to present a Communication on clearing and settlement later in 2001.

The deadline for replies to the questionnaire is by 4 May 2001 and they should be sent to: C& or by fax to (32 2) 299.35.03

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