Financial integration: stock markets

Key points

The EESC recommends that the European institutions step up their efforts to explain to the citizens of the EU the advantages that a harmonised legal framework for dealings in securities would offer to them. Special attention should be paid to stock exchanges because of their central role in any market economy. The activities of the funds of sovereign issuers in emerging countries or countries that are richly endowed in natural resources must be the subject of a certain level of vigilance.

The Commission should pay special attention in the ex-post evaluation of the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP) announced in the White Paper on Financial Services Policy[1] to whether the many changes that have been made to the basic provisions of European law relating to on- and off-exchange trading venues are conducive to any meaningful integration of European stock markets.

The European institutions should look at alternatives to promoting integration through competition if stock exchange concentration might lead to access being made noticeably more difficult for regionally active SMEs.