Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

EU nominee Michel Barnier tries to reassure City

EU Commissioner-designate Michel Barnier
Mr Barnier sought to reassure the City of London

The man set to take charge of the EU's internal market, Michel Barnier, says Europe needs new financial rules - but they will not be dictated by France.

"I'm not going to be taking orders from Paris, London or anywhere else. I can give a cast-iron guarantee," he told Euro MPs in Brussels on Wednesday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy caused some nervousness in the UK by calling Mr Barnier's appointment a "victory".

Mr Barnier is among 26 EU commissioners seeking confirmation from MEPs.

The 59-year-old Frenchman is politically close to President Sarkozy and served previously as a French agriculture minister and foreign minister. He was also EU commissioner for regional policy in 1999-2004.

"We need to turn the page on an era of irresponsibility. We need to put transparency, responsibility and ethics at the heart of the financial system," he said.

Lessons of crisis

Some British commentators have warned that his nomination could usher in excessive Brussels regulation of the City of London, which currently dominates Europe's financial services.

A UK Independence Party (UKIP) MEP, Godfrey Bloom, warned him on Wednesday: "Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg".

Mr Barnier responded: "It is in the interest of the European financial sector and of the British financial sector to be regulated properly and effectively.

"We have to learn the lessons from the crisis and we will do so."

His right-hand man will be Jonathan Faull, a long-standing Commission civil servant from the UK.

Mr Barnier said he was considering reforms to bolster the amount of capital banks are required to keep, to make derivatives trading more transparent and to increase oversight of private equity and hedge funds.

The EU is also working on new rules on bankers' bonuses, to tie them more directly to performance.

Under plans drawn up by the European Commission, three new supervisory authorities will be created to oversee banks, insurers and investment firms.

A separate body, known as the European Systemic Risk Board, is planned to oversee the stability of the European financial system as a whole.

Print Sponsor

A bad year for watchdogs
22 Dec 09 |  Business
Call for tougher rules on banks
18 Dec 09 |  Business
UK and France 'agree on banking'
10 Dec 09 |  Business
New EU regulation deal agreed
02 Dec 09 |  Business
Hands off City, Darling warns EU
02 Dec 09 |  Business


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

New StatesmanThe best things in life are free - 2 hrs ago
Financial TimesKroes wants Paris to explain veto on Renault's Turkish plan - 5 hrs ago
The Independent Business Diary: French farms minister is one to watch closely - 10 hrs ago
Times Online Times experts go behind the headlines - 12 hrs ago
* Requires registration

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific