Gerrit Zalm, the former deputy prime minister and finance minister of the Netherlands, has been selected as the new chairman of the trustees of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation, which oversees the International Accounting Standards Board, in a sign of the growing influence of the European Union on the standards-setting process.

Zalm has been a leading advocate of the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards in the European Union. "The experience he gained as the Dutch finance minister over nearly 12 years will be highly relevant as the organization advances to its objective of having IFRS implemented in a consistent manner throughout the world's capital markets," said Philip Laskawy, the current chairman of the trustees, in a statement.

Zalm will work with Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the IASB, on its work with unifying accounting standards. "There is a growing acceptance of the need for international accounting standards as the basis of financial reporting for the world's rapidly integrating capital markets," said Zalm. He is opposed to special "carve-outs" for the European Union that would allow it to make changes in rules under IFRS.

He plans to work with the other trustees to implement oversight initiatives that are already underway and to advance the establishment of a broad-based financing program.

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