'We need to learn the financial lessons,' says Barnier
John Lichfield hears from Michel Barnier about his role as the EU's economic supremo
Friday 11 December 2009
Q. How do you respond to anxiety in the City of London about your appointment to oversee financial services?
A. I'm glad things have started to calm down, as the anxiety and fears expressed last week were deeply exaggerated. As I said then, everyone needs to calm down and take a deep breath. I won't be adding anything to fuel this unnecessary polemic. I won't be taking orders from Paris, London or any other capital: I'll be acting in the European interest. I have been and will be an independent Commissioner.
Q. Is there such a thing as the "French approach" to financial, or market regulation? If so, do you hope to bring such an approach to Brussels?
A. What matters to me is to build a European model using the expertise of all Member States. The reality is we need to learn from the crisis which has cost us all so much... My objective in Brussels is to ensure we learn those lessons and pull together to create a stronger European model – not a French or British model, but one which will be useful for all member states and others abroad. A model which creates sustainable long-term growth and ensures the right governance for financial markets.
Q. Is EU-wide financial regulation possible or desirable? Given the global nature of financial markets, should regulation not also be global?
A. The balance is a difficult one to get right. The last thing I want to do is to hamper EU competitiveness. That's why our approach must above all be global and that's why my road map will be the G20 recommendations... This does not mean that the EU can never take action alone and set the path either. But clearly, a global framework is essential – as is not undermining the EU's competitiveness.
Q. Finally, on the internal market part of your portfolio, is the time of breaking down internal barriers now over? Does the spirit of the times not favour a return to a more understanding Brussels approach to national subsidies?
A. The internal market is at the heart of what the European Union is all about. It's brought about more choice and lower prices for consumers, it's made it easier for businesses, big businesses and SMEs, to operate and trade in the EU, it's created millions of new jobs. The fact is that there are still too many barriers in the internal market – and these inhibit growth and jobs. So yes, I want to be a Commissioner for a more internal market, not less.
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
PAs cleared of fraud - and Nigella Lawson left reeling at 'ridiculous sideshow' of drug allegations and public dissection of marriage to Charles Saatchi
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Bonuses for goals and top four finish as Luiz Suarez joins Premier League's top three earners
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: PHP Deve...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: This Big 4 giant is seeking ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have personal tax exp...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: This se...