Mr. Jacques de Larosière, Adviser to the Chairman and Honorary Governor of the Bank of France, looked at the issue of the single financial services market in Europe. During the conference, he answered to these questions : how important is the european financial market and how does it compare with the other major markets around the world, and more specifically the united states?

The euro market has grown considerably since the start of this decade, and today represents a secure source of funds, now larger than the dollar, for all of the world's businesses and governments.
Today, the European financial services market has a global scale, and European players are genuinely competitive worldwide.

Despite considerable harmonisation efforts over the last few years, the European financial services market does not yet represent a genuine "single" market. The single currency will only take on its full meaning and achieve its full potential when the European financial area is genuinely integrated.

Despite growing consistency between European Union countries in terms of their general directions, specific national features are still the rule when it comes to transposition. The fact that European players have often based their European deployment on local acquisitions means that they are unable to benefit from the simplification and economies of scale made possible through direct expansion based on single platforms. Moreover, the complexity and heterogeneity of the prudential and supervisory regulatory systems are not only penalising the development of cross-border relations within Europe, but are also threatening to restrict the global expansion of the main European financial players.

To build the financial Europe, it is therefore necessary to promote a dynamic approach to improving competitiveness, and Europe must ensure that it has a strong foundation of players looking to develop at international level or strengthen their positions as global institutions.

In this respect, regulation and supervision have an essential role to play. Well designed and consistently applied, they can facilitate this development. Too fragmented, complex or cumbersome, they can however impede this internationalisation. As such, it is vital to ensure that the complexity and fragmentation of the European regulatory and supervisory systems do not block this necessary expansion.

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BNP Paribas' Conferences at "Maison Dorée" consist of lectures or presentations followed by a discussion. They are aimed at senior managers and other executive-grade staff of the BNP Paribas group. They are a forum for imparting information relevant to the major issues that concern the BNP Paribas group as well as the banking community more generally.

Depending on the chosen topic, the group invites either external guest speakers or experts from the group itself to come and talk at the conference.