Barroso pledges to speed up reforms

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The Independent Online

The European Commission yesterday pledged to speed up an overhaul of supervision of financial institutions to restore confidence in the financial system. The commission's president, Jose-Manuel Barroso, said the measures needed to be taken immediately and that "action is urgent".

The European Commission backed proposals put forward last week by a group headed by the former French central banker Jacques de Larosière. The report recommended a new pan-European Union authority to identify systemic risks and alert EU supervisors. It also called for the powers of three supervisory committees to be strengthened.

Mr Barroso said the timetable would be accelerated so that a plan could be put forward by June. His determination to press ahead could meet opposition from Britain. The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, warned on Tuesday against giving a European body powers over national supervisors.