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Brussels, 27th March 2002

Securities markets: Commission asks CESR to begin work on implementing measures on market abuse and prospectuses

The European Commission has asked the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) to start work now on technical advice on market abuse and prospectuses. The CESR's advice will be considered by the Commission in preparing possible future measures implementing the proposed Directives on the two areas concerned. This is the Commission's first request to the CESR for technical advice, in line with the new approach to implementing financial services legislation agreed with the European Parliament on 5 Feb (see IP 02/195) on the basis of the Lamfalussy Report on the Regulation of European Securities Markets. The CESR will need to begin work on market abuse and prospectuses now if the EU is to meet the 2003 target date for full integration of European securities markets, set by European leaders at the Stockholm European Council in March 2001 and endorsed at the Barcelona European Council, which called this month for rapid progress. Any work done by the CESR at this early stage shall be without prejudice to the negotiations on the final texts of the two Directives. Negotiations on these continue in the European Parliament and Council (see IP/02/417 and IP/01/759).

The Final Report of the Committee of Wise Men on the Regulation of European Securities Markets (the "Lamfalussy Report") set out a new four-level approach to European securities regulation, composed of essential principles, implementing measures, co-operation and enforcement, and called for the creation of two new Committees: the European Securities Committee (ESC) and the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR). It recommended that the CESR play a key role in the technical preparation of these implementing measures. The European Parliament endorsed this whole approach in its Resolution of 5 February 2002, on the basis of a Declaration by Commission President Romano Prodi.

In line with this approach, in May 2001, the Commission adopted two proposals for Directives on Market Abuse and on a Single European Prospectus (see respectively IP/01/758 and MEMO/01/203; IP/01/759 and MEMO/01/204). The two proposed Directives cover the essential principles on which the European Parliament and Council will have to decide. They also make provision for a number of implementing measures to be adopted. The European Parliament completed its first reading of these two proposals on 14 March 2002.

On 15 March 2002, the Barcelona European Council reaffirmed the target of end-2003 set by the Stockholm European Council for an integrated European securities market, and asked the European Parliament and the Council to adopt the two Directives as early as possible in 2002.

If this target of 2003 is to be met, this means not only the Directives, but also the technical implementing measures, being adopted within the deadline. In order to achieve this, the groundwork must begin now.

For this reason, the Commission has now asked the CESR to start preparing technical advice. These requests do not yet represent formal mandates for technical advice on all implementing measures. The Commission will only issue such mandates once the two Directives have finally been adopted. The requests are therefore restricted to key priorities for which it is evident at this stage that work is necessary. The European Securities Committee has been consulted and broadly supports this approach.

The European Securities Committee and the Committee of European Securities Regulators were set up by the Commission in June 2001 (see IP/01/792 and MEMO/01/213).

The precise wording of the two provisional requests for technical advice is available at:

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