Zalm lays down the law on European carve-outs

has been in his seat at the
(the parent body of the International Accounting Standards Board) for barely a
week, but has already made his political presence felt.

The new chairman of trustees wasted no time in sending out a stern warning to
Europe that if it pursues plans to develop its own version of the international
standards it will place the global effort to produce a single set of standards
at risk.

‘One of my first priorities will be no new carve-outs in Europe and trying to
get rid of the existing carve-outs, because if Europe is doing this, other
countries could get the same inspiration and then all the advantages of the one
programme fade away,’ Zalm told reporters following his appointment.

Zalm’s stance could come as a bit of a surprise for those hoping that with a
European at the head of IASC, Europe would have a strong supporter for its

This follows growing criticism from the European Parliament that the IASB has
given too much ground to US standard setter the Financial Accounting Standards
Board when developing standards.

The IASB has been criticised by EU politicians for following the lead of the
FASB too readily and sacrificing European concerns in the interests of hastening
convergence with US GAAP.

The concern on the continent has prompted EU politicians to look far more
closely at IASB standards before ratifying them, the classic example being the
battle over the adoption of IFRS 8. Controversial standard IAS 39 has also been
subjected to EU carve-outs.

Zalm, however, has emphasised his commitment to smoothing out these problems
and pushing for unified standards.

‘The fragmentation of standards is costly and it doesn’t help in creating
clarity for investors,’ he said.

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