David Prosser: If you're going to stiff us, Michel, at least tell us to our faces


Outlook Policymakers get awfully cross when their will is denied: the indignation of Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, over the decision of Michel Barnier not to appear before him and his colleagues jumps off the page of the open letter he has sent to the European Commissioner for Internal Markets' boss demanding a change of course.

One might sympathise with Mr Barnier. The Treasury Committee's hearings have, in the past, had a tendency to become somewhat confrontational. And some on the committee do seem to regard its hearings as an opportunity for the wider world to hear their views, rather than those of the witnesses before them. The urbane Frenchman possibly had little desire to make the trek to London simply to be shouted at by grand-standing British parliamentarians.

Still, this really will not do. We find it rather too easy in Britain to slip into Europhobia, assuming that those who inhabit the corridors of power in Brussels exist simply to do us down. But concern about the European Union's democratic deficit is quite different to that hysteria. The Commission and its officials are not directly accountable to the citizens of Europe, over whose lives they wield such significant powers.

Mr Barnier's responsibility for regulating the European Union's financial services industry makes him a hugely significant figure for many people in this country. And Britain's financial services sector dwarfs that of any other EU member state so the decisions the Commissioner makes have more resonance here than anywhere else.

There has already been one run-in between Britain and the rest of the EU over the alternative investment management directive, which many in the City believes will damage its competitiveness. The row rumbles interminably on – as ever with the nuances of European legislation, the arguments are heard in private, in the modern-day equivalent of smoke-filled rooms, with the latest state of play emerging into the glare of publicity only occasionally.

Mr Barnier must see why many in Britain are nervous about his term of office as a Commissioner. Many of those fears will prove misplaced. But to refuse this opportunity to put his case – and to be questioned about it – to Britain's elected representatives hardly smacks of a man prepared to listen to the arguments.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas