Analyze the attempts by the EU to alleviate the inherent problems of establishing a single market within the Financial Services Sector. Introduction Unlike the earlier emphasis by the European Union to remove tariffs and the establishment of a common policy to regulate dealings with the rest of the world, the Treaty of Rome went to an extra length and introduced a single European market (SEM) to facilitate trade in all goods and services amongst the member states…
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As a result, the integration process had to take a more heightened effort to ensure it was fruitful. The Commission published a White Paper in 1985, whereby the enabling instrument was the Single European Act (the SEA). The aim of this Act was to remove the non-tariff barriers and to encourage free movement of capital and labor by 1993. It was also agreed that discrimination by all means should cease (House of Lords, 2008, p. 33). The non-tariff barriers Although the European Commission was hell bent on establishing a single market, not much had been achieved by 1980s. Furthermore, by the mid - 1980s, most of the aims of the Rome treaty had not been attained despite the first stage of integration having been completed. Actually, non-tariff barriers were reported to have increased between 1975 and 1985 despite all these efforts. It was thereby realized that a strategy was needed to strengthen the integration among members (Canoy, Liddle and Smith, n.d, p. 3). The Single European Act had, in mind, three major types of non-tariff obstacles to factor mobility and trade, which inspired its objectives. The first was the physical barriers, whose formation was as a result of controls and customs formalities (House of Lords, 2008, p. 29). Its aim included moving administrative checks away from the borders and ensuring their processes were simplified, development of a common policy on transport, as well as removal of all internal controls and frontiers on capital and people. The second type was technical barriers, which encompasses the various technical product specifications. Its purpose was to harmonize regulations or to create mutual identification of standards of each member country; to institute the correspondence of qualifications; and to dismantle exchange controls. The third type was fiscal barriers, which was characterized by a very complex process of tax rates harmonization particularly in relation to the corporation and indirect taxes. Also, the SEA placed emphasis on the suitability of allowing free trade on each member country’s public purchasing, which encompassed incorporation of social charter and application of competition. Nevertheless, there was no reliable arrangement for tackling the differences in respect to the external trade policy and a policy on subsidies was not clearly spelt out. It was also not clear, how harmonization could lead to mutual recognition in regards to the achievement of the single market (Eichacker and Amherst, n.d., p. 4). The banking industry The banking industry, among other financial sectors, was greatly regulated and it was characterized by diversified regulatory practices. Essentially, barriers to the supply of overseas services presented more problems than location-related barriers. In some countries, financial institution and non-resident banks were restricted in their rights to do business with residents, by stringent laws and regulations (House of Lords, 2008, p. 36). The first Banking Directive instructed members to set up systems for supervising and authorization of banks as well as other credit institutions. This directive, also, led to the requirement that these financial institutions should get licensed to be recognized. In addition, licensing accorded the financial ...
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