EU markets chief Barnier set for pacifying UK visit

EUROPE’S internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier is set to woo politicians and business leaders in London next week in his first UK visit since he was appointed in November.

Top of the agenda for Barnier, one of the most powerful men in Brussels, will be the raft of new EU regulation that many claim will jeopardise the growth of the UK’s financial sector and spark an exodus of talent from British shores.

Barnier is expected to hold meetings with shadow chancellor George Osborne, Financial Services Authority chairman Lord Turner and a number of representatives from the hedge fund industry, thought to include the heads of Lansdowne Partners and Brevan Howard Asset Management.

City envoys are hoping to impress upon Barnier the strength of feeling against the EU’s draft directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers, which is set to bring tighter regulation to the hedge fund and private equity sectors.

Barnier’s visit comes after he moved last month to soothe City fears that Europe’s drive for stricter financial rules is being dictated by fellow Frenchman Nicolas Sarkozy, who hailed his appointment as a “victory”.

“I am not going to be taking orders from Paris, London or anywhere else,” Barnier told European MPs.