What the Irish know about trading in Europe: What we know
A new book entitled Trading in Europe offers a new look at how a range of markets and financial instruments trade in Europe.
It is being published in the wake of the financial crisis and will be a key focus of the Irish government’s new financial services policy.
The book will be released in Irish, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Danish and Polish languages, and will focus on the trading landscape in Europe from the 1920s to the present day.
Its author, Peter MacLeod, is a former adviser to the US Treasury.
He said the book was “the first time the EU has released this kind of comprehensive report, a sort of history of trading and it will be fascinating to see what emerges”.
MacLeod has previously said trading in the region is “a mess”.
“I would say that if there was one single lesson we can draw from the global crisis, it is that trading in markets is a mess,” he said.
The main issues highlighted in the book include:The financial markets have become “a toxic beast”, and the European financial system “has become a vehicle for global capital to get out of the continent and into the US”.
The financial sector, which includes large banks and hedge funds, is responsible for up to 50 per cent of the EU economy, and the Irish economy is estimated to account for between 7 per cent and 8 per cent.
MacLeod said it was a “big, fat fat mess” and said Ireland was the only country in the EU to have “virtually no regulation of financial instruments in any form”.
He said there is “an enormous amount of unregulated capital” that is going to leave the region in the future, and “it is going straight into the EU”.
“The only solution for Ireland is to be part of a coherent European financial regulatory regime,” he told The Irish Sun.
The report will also address concerns that the EU is moving too slowly towards reform.
The European Union is the largest single financial sector in the world, and its members are responsible for 60 per cent the total size of the bloc’s economy, with the UK at 18 per cent, Germany at 13 per cent , the Netherlands at 8 per, the UK and Ireland each accounting for 3 per cent each.
However, there is no “single, coherent financial regulation regime” for the entire EU, the report said, adding that “the only effective way to protect consumers, to protect jobs and the economy, is to act on all the elements of the single market and the single currency”.
“This is the only way we are going to get to the point where we can say we have the single European market, we have a single currency, we can have a strong and united Europe,” said MacLeod.