Politics and the Creation of a European SEC: The Optimal UK Strategy – Constructive Inconsistency
Subjects: EU Trade Agreements Services WTO and Globalization
This paper analyses the factors influencing whether a European Securities and Exchange Commission (ESEC) will be created and confirms the primary role that politics will play in its establishment. In the face of growing support for an ESEC, the paper recommends a strategy the UK should adopt towards the creation of such an institution. It is proposed that the UK adopt a three-pronged approach. First, the UK must, as it currently does, support the Lamfalussy Process in the hope that it works. Second, the UK must determine what criteria need to be assessed in order to evaluate whether the Lamfalussy Process together with the Financial Services Action Plan are in fact harming UK interests, and then make such an evaluation. Finally, if political support for an ESEC becomes unstoppable, the UK should negotiate for the creation of an appropriately structured ESEC – even though its backing for the Lamfalussy Process should logically preclude its support for any type of ESEC. A key attribute of the recommended strategy is thus that it is inconsistent. This is not, however, thought a problem. On the contrary, given that the creation of an ESEC is the stuff of politics and thus that a political response is called for, and given that other key participants’ policies on the creation of an ESEC are themselves inconsistent, the strategy proposed is argued as being not only constructive, but indeed rational.