Lord Mayor welcomes expanded EU

Click to follow

The entry of 10 new countries into the European Union this year will provide a major boost to the City, bringing thousands of jobs and opportunities, the Lord Mayor of London claimed yesterday.

Speaking at Mansion House, Alderman Robert Finch contradicted fears that the accession of East European countries would have a negative impact on the UK as hordes of immigrants flock here. He spoke in favour of countries including Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania joining the EU, saying they would provide huge opportunities for companies here.

"It has been estimated that joining the EU will create some 2 million more jobs in the accession countries, and 300,000 in the existing member states. Accession is going to bring many benefits, particularly in terms of economic growth and liberalisation of markets," the Lord Mayor said. "EU business is very important to the City. There are one hundred EU banks here with assets of more than €1 trillion [£660bn]. London is the largest centre for the trading of the Euro currency.''

But Mr Finch did issue a warning to the bureaucrats not to overburden companies with more regulation as the EU expands. He said there was a danger that in making financial markets secure, they would be "regulated out of existence", driving investors elsewhere.