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By Morten Balling, Elizabeth Hennessy, Eduard H. Hochreiter

In line with a colloquium held by means of SUERF together with the Austrian nationwide financial institution, this booklet addresses the problem of adapting to the calls for of monetary globalisation, a urgent preoccupation of bankers monetary associations and fiscal experts.

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Leaving aside a small number of successful cases, like Dexia, Fortis and Meritanordbanken, full-scale cross-border mergers do not seem to have yet been great successes. In fact, they look more like small to medium size acquisitions than real mergers. Of course, the recently announced acquisition of the medium size and profitable Crédit Commercial de France by HSBC brings a new dimension to the issue. Finally, we have also seen the establishment of new links between the insurance sector and banks.

It comprises representatives from central banks and banking supervisory authorities in the G-10 countries and Luxembourg. It was this committee that, back in 1988, produced the socalled Basel Accord. This was a report that set out the details of an agreed framework for measuring capital adequacy and the minimum standard to be achieved, which the national supervisory authorities represented on the committee intended to implement in their respective countries. The Accord had finally also been endorsed by the G-10 central bank governors.

While this important subject is beyond the scope of my address, I should nevertheless like to warn against too much optimism and to sound a note of caution. Still, it is true that new production and information technologies, combined with open markets intensify competition. This must at least have a temporary impact on productivity and thus on non-inflationary growth. Up to now perhaps more so in the US than in the EU, as the US is further advanced regarding a business friendly regulatory environment, the flexibility of markets and, of course, the internal integration of its economy.

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