RAPID RESPONSES

Kamall on Barnier

[Re: I value the City: EU commissioner responds to criticisms, yesterday]
Michel Barnier’s reply falls short on specifics and won’t reassure London hedge funds and private equity houses. Barnier holds hundreds of meetings with the industry, but listening to what is said at them is another matter. The industry doesn’t have faith in a process that gives it a few weeks to scrutinise technical detail and make representations, which are then dismissed in a high-handed fashion by officials. He is right that the European Parliament and Council can reject these implementing measures. But, when they are so specifically targeted at the UK’s industry, it’s hard to form coalitions with states that either couldn’t care less or have a continental approach to free markets. He is slipping through controversial measures with limited democratic scrutiny. At one meeting, technical measures were discussed in French, with no translation for those whose primary language was English. I believe in proportionate and necessary regulation. That’s why I’m concerned by this tidal wave of directives. While I recognise that the EU is mandated to implement G20 commitments, it should remember that the G20 also agreed to keep markets open. The most important lesson for London's financial services industry is that European regulators require often inflexible rules. They’ll fill in gaps during the Level 2 process rather than rely on principles and reason.

Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London

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