Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christian Twigg-Flesner
Chapter 14: Financial services and consumer protection
The term 'financial services' in EU consumer law is broad. It encompasses consumer credit, investment services, banking and payment services, and since recently also retail mortgage credit. Although regulation is focused on such specific areas and therefore comes across as scattered, some common threads can be discerned that explain and connect the EU's policy in financial services law. This chapter will discuss the EU's financial services regulation by exploring its legal framework, its goals (access to finance and substantive protection) and the detailed rules in two selected areas: credit and investment. It is noteworthy that this chapter is published at a time when European financial policies are strongly influenced by austerity measures taken in response to the financial crisis of 2008. Many of the EU Member States' economies are still either in recession or recovering from its effects. Overall, the attitude towards EU cooperation and the financial markets has taken a turn towards greater control of risks. This policy change has a direct effect on consumer access to financial services and on policies relating to consumer protection. Throughout the chapter, note will be made of initiatives that are taken in order to enhance the governance of the financial markets. A question running through the chapter is whether such strategies should be adopted as a long-term goal for the EU retail financial market.
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