In 2019, although we will continue to talk about many of the same themes as in 2018, on the regulatory front, the level of rulemaking will not – and cannot – keep pace with that of the last few years. The post-crisis reforms have been done, and need time to bed down. But already, we are seeing some of these being revisited. The theme at European level will be one of review, refit and renewal. This serves various objectives. One is addressing some unintended consequences of the recent reforms, which are inter-dependent on one another – and to simplify what has become an over-complex regulatory environment. Another is the urgent completion of the European banking union, and advancement of the capital markets union. Brexit has thrown into sharp focus the reliance of the EU on the City of London, and the European Commission has belatedly adopted a competitiveness agenda. Some of the reforms proposed seek to unlock capital and incentivise lending to the real economy – supporting long-term financing of infrastructure, and lending to small and medium sized enterprises. Running through these developments is another theme – the increasing centralisation of power within the European financial regulatory architecture, with this being transferred increasingly from national regulators to the European Supervisory Authorities and the European Central Bank.

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