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The Lamfalussy Process is an approach to the development of financial service industry regulations used by the European Union. Originally developed in March 2001, the process is named after the chair of the EU advisory committee that created it, Alexandre Lamfalussy. It is composed of four "levels," each focusing on a specific stage of the implementation of legislation.
At the first level, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union adopt a piece of legislation, establishing the core values of a law and building guidelines on its implementation. The law then progresses to the second level, where sector-specific committees and regulators advise on technical details, then bring it to a vote in front of member-state representatives. At the third level, national regulators work on coordinating new regulations with other nations. The fourth level involves compliance and enforcement of the new rules and laws.
A very significant European directive developed according to this approach is the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID.
The Lamfalussy Process is intended to provide several benefits over traditional lawmaking, including more-consistent interpretation, convergence in national supervisory practices, and a general boost in the quality of legislation on financial services.
Nevertheless, the Lamfalussy Process has provoked controversy as it allows some element of bypassing accountable oversight by the Council of the European Union and the elected European Parliament, thereby embodying a further move away from representative democracy towards technocracy.
The creation of the EU Authorities (ESMA, EIOPA and EBA), which took over from the Advisory Committees on 1 January 2011, has resulted in some changes regarding how the four level legislative procedure operates, with the EU Authorities being given a greater role and more powers.
- Lamfalussy Report[dead link]
- Diagram: The four-level regulatory approach under the Lamfalussy process
- Financial Services Authority (UK regulator)
- European Commission: Lamfalussy Report. Retrieved 2011-02-11
- European Banking Authority: Lamfalussy Review. Retrieved 2011-02-11
- European Voice: MEPs fear weakened role over fast-track laws (2000-12-21) Retrieved 2011-02-07 
- ESMA About Us. Retrieved 2011-02-07
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