Barnier set for key talks on his first London visit

MICHEL Barnier will make his first trip to London this week as the newly appointed European Commissioner for the internal market and financial services in an attempt to reassure the City that he is a friend of “Anglo-Saxon” capitalism.

The Commissioner’s appointment spooked the City back in December as the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, used it as a platform to crack down on bonuses, tax havens and the excesses of financial capitalism.

But Barnier is no radical and Sarkozy’s populist comments were a deliberate attempt at “winding up” the City while garnering support at home.

John Griffith-Jones, UK Chairman and Senior Partner, KPMG said: “There is a growing recognition among policymakers that national pride is secondary to securing a sustainable European economy with London as its financial and professional services global hub.”

His two day trip will feature a host of meetings with London’s top financiers as well as politicians including the Chancellor Alistair Darling, shadow business secretary Ken Clarke and Vince Cable, of the Liberal Democrats.