Trying to prevent a repeat of the economic crisis, the European Union is proposing a total overhaul of the way banks, insurers and stock exchanges are policed.
It wants to create a super-watchdog – the European Systemic Risk Board – with the power to overrule individual EU member governments and a a separate supervisor for insurers and markets to warn of early signs of problems. Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner said: “This new body will report at least annually to the European Parliament and to the Council and will liaise closely with the IMF, the Financial Stability Board and other international system risk counterparts.The creation of the ESRB will be a major contribution to safeguarding EU financial stability.” Brussels hopes the European system can inspire a global one and will argue for that at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. But Britain, which is the region’s biggest financial centre, is worried that tighter European regulations will cause an exodus of companies to places where the rules are less strict: Nicolas Véron, an economist with the Bruegel think tank was asked about that by euronews. He said: “The biggest threat to London as a financial hub right now would be financial fragmentation in Europe and it may be the case that in the post crisis context, you need a strong European level of financial supervision to maintain this level of financial integration. So the calculation is not easy for London, but it’s not evident that this will be detrimental.” Brussels would like all this to be in place by next year after being considered and approved by the European Parliament and the 27 EU member states.