May 31, 2018

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Pierre Vimont stresses the need to respect and use the political processes of European construction, even in compliance techniques

by Marie-Anne Frison-Roche

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In the series of conferences organized by the Journal of Regulation & Compliance (JoRC on the subject of the Europe of Compliance, Pierre Vimont reacted in a "first discussion" at the conference that Xavier Musca, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Crédit Agricole Group has just done about the way in which European companies of global dimension can do in a European perspective, integrating the new phenomenon of Compliance.


Based entirely on the conference that had just ended, Pierre Vimont emphasized how Europe can develop this perspective of Compliance.


Read the restitution of the Pierre Vimont's speech below.


In front of an audience sometimes in a general way a little disconcerted by this new mechanism that is Compliance, even discouraged by the American power that this one expresses, Pierre Vimont firstly stressed that in their way the Europeans make, and for a long time, Compliance without knowing it. This is true of the mechanisms in place not only in banking but also in food security or consumer information, which has led to institutional changes, while many notions are already familiar to us, such as the whistle-blower or transparency, although it is true that the idea that corruption must be fought for the good of the market itself is more of an Anglo-Saxon idea than a continental idea which links this struggle more to an inflection of market principles.

Pierre Vimont concluded that the construction of a "Europe of Compliance" would not overcome institutional obstacles and that we should not rush its mechanisms.

Simply and as always, cultural differences between the countries of the North and the South must be taken into account, and it is possible that such an ambition, if it were to express itself strongly in a Europe of Compliance, would imply that more political and strong is carried by a smaller number of Member States. Pierre Vimont thus took the example of the "European Public Prosecutor's Office", whose implementation is slow and difficult, because of the cultural differences between the countries, some wanting to always leave "the time for reflection".

Pierre Vimont then joined Xavier Musca's remarks to highlight the effect on Europe of the increasing US Compliance pressure, while European laws (eg "blocking laws") do not have much effect to decrease this pressure. This pressure is due to the power of the American economy, that is a fact over which Law has little control.

The speaker then stressed that in the same way that Americans have given themselves the means of a real "legal diplomacy", conceptually and materially (Treasury, OFAC, etc.) to defend American interests, Europeans should and could develop a "European legal diplomacy". For the moment, Europe does not have one, whereas it is not inconceivable that it can dispose of one, that is to say in the first place a "doctrine" and "instruments to ensure compliance with this doctrine".

Following the words of Xavier Musca, Pierre Vimont recognized that it is a long-term work and that assumes autonomy, especially in terms of international currency (question on which the Law does not matter) .



As a result, and in a third time, as Xavier Musca had wondered what companies could expect from Europe and to make it be built with regard to a Compliance, Pierre Vimont  following himself this same path of foresight, said believing for his part that it was not appropriate to go too fast or go too far in this perspective.

He said that it is field by field that a political approach  is needed.

Then if there is no such thing, we must rely on those Member States that are ready to move forward to create the necessary movement for this Europe of Compliance, the price of which is the creation of a two-speed Europe. Without ever leaving the institutional framework, it will then be necessary to obtain from the other Member States that they join in a second time this movement of Compliance so that there is a "solidarity" in Europe in this matter.

Pierre Vimont ended his speech by wondering what issues to focus Europe's efforts on (that also echoed the inaugural conference of the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union). He considered that this could be not only banking but also food security, or the protection of personal data and the fundamental ideas contained in the Community Regulation (such as the accountability principle), or the protection of human rights (European Charter).

We must not invent but also take back and adapt existing ones, for example those offered by European Competition Law, which will make things politically easier.



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