EU chief Barnier: London’s bankers are blackmailing us

Marion Dakers
THE EU’S markets chief accused London banks of blackmailing the union with threats to move abroad in the face of bonus curbs yesterday.

Michel Barnier, who made his first appearance in front of the Treasury select committee yesterday, said the EU’s new guidelines calling for bankers to get just 20 per cent of bonus payments in cash would not spark an exodus from the City.

“I very much doubt there will be a flight of talent towards Asia or elsewhere,” said Barnier. “I would not be overly impressed by the blackmail exerted in which this kind of risk is mentioned.”

Barnier spoke at the committee after pressure from its chairman, Andrew Tyrie, who wanted more information on the powers of ESMA, the EU’s new banking super-regulator.