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What is the position of Europe—and specifically the European Union (EU)—on the world map of global finances in 2017? This comment seeks to answer this question by focusing on three key issues. First, it analyzes Europe’s post-2008 bank bailouts, its sector-wide rescue packages, and its consequential sovereign-debt crisis. Second, it considers the role of the international credit rating agencies and asks why Europe does not have a large rating agency of its own. Third, it assesses the EU’s major recent regulatory developments related to the financial sector. There is no doubt that Europe is in a sustained economic and political crisis; the question of interest is whether the EU is responding by adopting reforms that will make it economically stronger and more united. This comment concludes that some of the EU’s post-2008 reforms—such as enhanced consumer protection, stress testing and stricter prudential requirements—have been in line with international regulatory tendencies, but that slow and expensive decision-making, member states’ failure to compromise on fundamental issues, and misguided rules for bank resolution and supervision have harmed the EU’s global competitiveness.

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