Michel Barnier in a confrontation with UK MP’s

Michel Barnier undeterred by abrasive interrogation in the UK parliament

The man in charge of Internal Markets and Services, Michel Barnier in his first appearance before a committee of the British parliament on Monday, said he was “not overly impressed” by the threat of Bankers to flee the City of London for more business-friendly locations in Asia. He labeled such threats “Blackmail”

In a very tense meeting with the Treasury select committee Mr. Barnier was undeterred by the abrasive interrogation by committee members led by chairman Tyrie.

Emphasizing the fact that in the case of Greece there was lack of transparency. While he was not openly accusing “any body” in market and prices manipulation, still he left

no doubt as to the determination of the European Commission, under his leadership, to ensure that such lack of transparency will not happen again. (“we should always know who does what”)

In asking if stress tests of European banks were too lax, the committee members tried to insinuate that the commission is an accomplice in concealing the true difficulties of European banks.

Mr. Barnier’s notion of competitiveness appears to be very different from that of the Treasury select committee’s members.

While he insisted that the key to the future prosperity of the industry is in “insuring the stability and avoiding future crisis”. the members on the other hand, stressed instead their vague notions of “competitiveness” “liquidity” etc.

By competitiveness they mean maintaining the freedom of financial institutions to continue to engage in notorious practices just because, as they claim, Mr. Barnier have not been able to produce “evidence” of manipulations and abuses in hedge funds and derivatives.

Their legalistic type posture of interrogation left the commissioner unimpressed. Acknowledging the importance of London to Europe’s and UK’s financial services industry, “Europe” that is the “Continent” is not about to take its guidance from the UK on that matter. The members’ fear that regulating the remuneration of bankers will bring about a “flight of talent” from London, were totally dismissed by him. The members of the committees kept alluding to “widely held views in the financial service industry” of the dangers to the industry from the regulations being pushed by the commission, still Mr. Barnier was un moved.

2010-12-14  »  ehud

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