Une privatisation de la norme inédite: le cas de la politique comptable européenne


Sociologie du Travail

January-March 2007, vol. 49, n°1, pp.46-64

Departments: Accounting & Management Control, Tax & Law

EU member states have, for a long time, been harmonizing their accounting rules in order to facilitatecomparisons among countries. A new regulation in 2002 has suddenly sped up this process. Under it,companies quoted in the stock exchange are, since 2005, required to comply with the standards set bythe International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), a private body without any public mandate. Aftertrying to harmonize its members' standards, the EU's decision to resort to private subcontracting is evenmore puzzling given the Union's lack of any statutory control over the IASB. In this impressive case ofthe privatization of a regulatory process, attention is focused on the incorporation of IASB standards inEU law and on the structure and governance of this board. This transfer of power is much broader thanusual forms of delegation to the private sector. Although several reasons underlie this relinquishment ofpublic authority, the primary one lies within the EU itself.Keywords: Accounting standards; EU soft law; Privatization; Legal transplants; European Union