miércoles, 24 de febrero de 2010


Publicado en el Wall Street Journal.

EU Lawmakers Push For Stronger Financial-Market Oversight

BRUSSELS (Dow Jones)--Members of the European Parliament are pushing to give two new regulators expanded powers to govern the European Union's largest banks and securities firms, potentially upsetting a compromise that EU states reached last fall.

Two lawmakers, charged with evaluating an EU plan for new banking and securities overseers, argued in separate reports circulated Tuesday that firms operating across EU borders should be monitored by the new pan-EU regulators instead of national authorities.

The EU parliamentarians also want to establish emergency funds for these sectors to help cope with future financial crises. Both moves likely will upset the UK, which has fought to limit the powers of these new regulatory bodies and ensure its taxpayers wouldn't have to bail outs large EU firms.

EU finance ministers last year wrestled over a deal to create new supervisory groups for financial markets: a "macro-prudential" body to study big-picture risks to financial stability, and three "micro-prudential" groups to look at specific issues in the banking, securities, and insurance and pension sectors.

This plan was designed in the wake of the 2008 crisis, which officials blamed on weak financial-market rules and lax oversight. But initial efforts to create a more centralized EU regulatory framework faced stiff resistance from the UK, which feared losing sway over the City of London, Europe's largest financial center.

Ultimately, EU finance ministers circumscribed the new regulatory groups' powers, agreeing that national authorities will continue to monitor firms' day-to-day business. The ministers, at the UK's insistence, also added a stipulation ensuring that the new EU regulators won't be able to dictate national spending priorities or force taxpayers to fund bailouts for banks operating across the bloc's borders.

But EU legislation needs approval from the European Parliament, a body of 736 lawmakers from across the 27-state bloc. Members of the parliament since December have complained that the EU's regulatory plan lacked clout.

"Financial institutions with an EU dimension should be entrusted to the European Supervisory Authority (Banking)," Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, a Spanish member of the European Parliament, said in his report on the planned banking supervisor. "National supervisors should act as agents of the European Supervisory Authority (Banking) and should be bound to the authority's instructions when they supervise cross-border financial institutions with an EU dimension."

The lawmakers' reports mark the start of debate within the Parliament about the legislative plan. Lawmakers can make further changes to the proposal, but EU governments ultimately will have to agree to it, creating the prospect of lengthy negotiations in the coming months.

The UK lawmaker who assessed the proposal for the EU insurance and pension regulator didn't make similar recommendations for those sectors.

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