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Brussels, 16th July 2004

Financial services: Commission sets up expert group on clearing and settlement

The European Commission’s Clearing and Settlement Advisory and Monitoring Expert group (the “CESAME” group) is holding its first meeting in Brussels on 16th July. The Group will advise and assist the Commission in the integration of EU securities clearing and settlement systems. The Group is chaired by the Commission. It is composed of around 20 high level representatives of various mainly private bodies involved in clearing and settlement, along with four observers from public authorities, with Alberto Giovannini acting as Principal Policy Advisor.

Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said “Making cross-border clearing and settlement as efficient, safe and cost-effective as at national level is crucial to a real single securities market in the EU. The stakes are high and the CESAME group will help the opening up of the EU clearing and settlement environment by providing impetus to the whole project.”

The integration of European securities clearing and settlement systems requires coordinated action by private and public sector bodies. This will change the way clearing and settlement functions are performed throughout the EU. For the success of the whole project, it is important that all market participants and service providers are aware and share the overall objectives and direction of the project, and transmit them to the market at large.

The group, chaired by the Commission, will advise on market-led initiatives to bring down barriers to integration, which were identified in two previous reports by Dr Giovannini (see The group will also advise the Commission on the coordination of action between the public and the private sectors and on the practicalities for the removal of those “Giovannini” Barriers for which the private sector has sole or joint responsibility. The Group will ensure wide dissemination of all necessary information on the state of reform and will contribute to building awareness of the importance of the project for the success of the EU’s financial markets and for attaining the overall economic objectives incorporated in the Lisbon agenda.

The group will also monitor the results of the whole process to help the Commission ensure that its efforts will be sustained at a pace consistent with private sector reforms and developments. Finally, it will liaise with two separate groups of experts (to be established in Autumn 2004) that will tackle the legal barriers and the barriers related to tax procedures which are expected to be more difficult to address, as well as with the “Group of 30” and other international bodies.


The advent of the expert group follows the publication in April 2004 of the Commission’s consultative Communication on securities clearing and settlement (IP/04/551). The Communication includes an action plan outlining the various initiatives necessary to achieve an integrated, safe and efficient clearing and settlement environment for securities trading in the EU, based on a level playing field for the different providers of services.

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