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Barnier pencils in spring date for hedgie visit

MICHEL Barnier, the Frenchman whose appointment to the EU’s internal market brief caused a furore in December, has confirmed he will meet with hedge fund managers and venture capitalists in London.

London MEP Syed Kamall said Barnier’s aides were arranging a visit after the coming general election in spring. It is understood several high-profile financiers from across the City will attend.

Earlier in January, Barnier wrote to Kamall in an attempt to dispel the unease caused by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s remark that his appointment was a “victory” for Europe against London. Describing himself as a “pragmatist” who did not believe in regulation for regulation’s sake, Barnier expressed a desire to meet with London’s alternative investment community.

Kamall told City A.M. yesterday: “He wants to open a dialogue and show he’s prepared to listen, and he wants to understand first-hand their concerns. Since the letter was published hedge and venture capital fund managers have been emailing me to see if they can be part of this meeting.”