Financial Matters

Financial matters in Europe, such as loans, financial leases, derivatives, securitisations and other financing arrangements, credits and instruments, are largely a matter of private contractual negotiations. Please see Chapter on "Contracts".

There, are, however, many national laws (all substantially similar) which closely regulate banking and various other forms of financial and investment operations, including special circumstances, such as measures designed to avoid the use of legitimate financial enterprises for purposes of money laundering. Please see Chapter on "Money Laundering".

Some principal EU Directives which relate to financial matters (and which have direct counterparts in all European countries) are these: Directive 73/183/EEC (freedom of establishment and right to provide financial services); Directive 77/780/EEC ("First Banking Directive") (banking coordination, codified with amendments in Directive 2000/12/EC); Directive 89/646/EEC ("Second Banking Directive") (banking coordination, codified with amendments in 2000/12/EC); Directive 97/5/EC (cross-border credit transfers); Directive 93/22/EEC (investment services directive, regarding securities investments); Directive 93/6/EEC (capital adequacy of credit establishments); Directive 95/26/EEC (reinforcing prudential supervision of credit establishments, including insurance and UCITS, or "undertakings for collective investments in transferable securities"); Directive 92/121/EEC (supervision of credit establishments with large risk exposures); Directive 94/19/EEC (deposit guarantees); and Directive 2001/97/EC (financial measures against money laundering).

Special rules exist with respect to financial transactions involving consumers and to transactions involving e-commerce (e.g., Directive 2000/46/EC on supervision of electronic money institutions). Please also see Chart on pages 90-97 and Directives 2002/65/EC (distance selling of financial services) and 87/102/EEC (consumer credit). For example, at the national level, the French "Scrivener" laws ("Loi Scrivener", Nos. 78-22 and 78-23 of 10 January 1978 and No. 79-596 of 13 July 1979, codified as Articles L.312-1 et seq. of the French Consumer Code) impose a cooling off period in certain real estate credit transactions involving banks and consumers and require that consumers be provided with certain information about their credit transactions. Similar rules exist in most countries.

Please also see the definition of Basel I + II accords, in the Chapter on "European Legal Terms" and Directives 89/647/EEC (solvency ratios of credit establishments) and 89/299/EEC (capital of credit establishments ("Own Funds Directive")).

A representative example of national laws that bring these matters together in a code is the French "Code Monetaire et Financier". Other representative national laws of financial relevance would include the 2000 Spanish Finance Act, relating to the regulation of Spanish financial markets. There are also numerous EU and national laws relating to bank audits, mergers, stock market listings and bankruptcy.

Interesting Europe-facts: + Some useful Czech legal abbreviations and terms:

AP (autorske pravo = copyright law)

MPS (mezinarodni pravo soukrome = conflict of laws rules)

OB (obchodni pravo = business law)

SP (spravni pravo = administrative law)

TPP (trestnf pravo procesnf = criminal procedure)

+ Switzerland is a European country whose name and its abbreviation are sometimes expressed in Latin: "Confoederatio Helvetica" = CH.

+ The first European law journal, the "Journal du Palais", was published in Paris on 16 February 1672. The "Law Times" is a legal journal in England which has been continuously published since 8 April 1843.

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