The Boss Doesn’t Have Time To See You

by Andrew Stuttaford

David Cameron’s failure to push back against the further extension of the EU’s control over the financial markets will ensure not only regulatory overreach, but, ultimately, contempt on the part of those to whom he surrendered. The Daily Telegraph reports:

When it comes to imposing regulations on the City, Michel Barnier is fond of promising: “We will go further.” But not as far as actually coming to London, it seems. The European Commission’s head of Internal Markets – the man in charge of the machinery of financial regulation – has refused a request to explain his reforms to the Treasury Select Committee. Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the influential Parliamentary committee, has revealed that Mr Barnier has declined to appear before MPs. Instead he offered a senior official to answer questions in his place. Mr Tyrie has written an open letter to Mr Barnier’s boss, the President of the European Commission, complaining about the snub and demanding that the decision is “reconsidered”…A spokesperson for Mr Barnier told The Daily Telegraph that he would face the Select Committee at some stage, but said that “because of his very busy diary and the short notice, it was impossible for the Commissioner to be in London at the proposed dates.”

In his letter, Mr Tyrie said: “The UK has a very large proportion of the EU’s share of global financial markets. The regulation of this sector is a matter for the Commission at the highest level, all the more so since the banking crisis. Decisions taken by the Commission will affect the UK more than any other EU state.”

…The Committee chairman’s stance will be backed by City firms where there is a growing concern that European regulations are being introduced without concern for the damage they pose to London’s financial sector.

That’s too optimistic. So far as Brussels is concerned, the damage that these regulations will do to London (and, of course, American firms) is a feature not a bug.

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