Liberalism in Crisis?

Liberalism in Crisis?

European Economic Governance in the Age of Turbulence

Edited by Carlo Secchi and Antonio Villafranca

During the current economic crisis recurring questions on the validity of the liberal economic system have resurfaced concerning the role of the state and the free market, the proactive use of fiscal policies, economic nationalism, and environmental sustainability. However, due to the depth and scope of the crisis new emphasis is being placed on these issues. This book attaches great importance to the specific consequences for the European Union by addressing critical themes surrounding its role in the new era of global economic governance. These include the coherence of common monetary policy with national fiscal policies, new financial regulation and supervision, and the future sustainability of national rescue plans and their compatibility with ambitious targets, such as those addressing climate change.

Chapter 3: Concrete Steps Towards More Integrated Financial Oversight: The EU’s Policy Response to the Crisis

Karel Lannoo

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics


Karel Lannoo 1. INTRODUCTION1 The financial crisis sounded a rude wake-up call for EU policymakers and confronted them with the limits of the present framework for European financial supervisory cooperation. What had been established and functioned well during good times proved completely inadequate for crisis situations. In the absence of a European safety net or a European crisis coordination mechanism, EU member states fell back on national responses, which now threaten to unravel the single market. Financial market integration had made powerful strides in the years leading up to the start of the financial crisis. Assets held by the 15 largest EU banks in other EU countries had doubled in the period 1997–2006. Several EU countries had become bridgeheads to a mighty financial services industry, active all across the globe. But financial supervision had not kept pace with these developments. Supervisors are by and large still working within the same structures as before the start of monetary union, with the home country ultimately in charge of the supervisory and lender of last resort functions. In several EU member states, including a country as large as the United Kingdom, the banking sector is five times larger than the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the country in question. The title of this chapter is reminiscent of a CEPS (Centre for European Policy Studies) study published some 18 years ago, entitled Concrete Steps towards Monetary Union (Gros and Thygesen 1990). Although we are fully aware of the difference in significance between both...

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