Just as U.S. federal legislation transcended the law of the states that make up the United States it is interesting to note that the recent European effort to harmonize securities law through EU Directives (implemented by the EU member states pursuant to country-specific legislation) is a comparable effort.

In 1999, the EU adopted the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP) to set the framework for the development of the European Securities Market in the twenty-first century. The objectives of the FSAP were:

  • A single market in the EU for wholesale financial services
  • Open and secure retail financial services markets in the EU
  • State-of-the-art prudential rules and supervision in the EU

The FSAP originally comprised 42 measures, the majority of which were adopted by 2005.

Although some of the inspiration for EU securities law has come from various national laws, it is a distinctive body of law that represents important steps toward a supranational body of EU securities law. The eight most important directives are described next.


The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID, is commonly used to refer not only to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Directive 2004/39/EC) adopted by the EU in 2004, but also to a supplemental EU Regulation and Directive, which came fully into effect on November 1, 2007. The initial thrust of MiFID was to build on the Investment Services Directive of 1993 (Directive 93/22/EC), which ...

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