Three Questions For Lord Hill at the Economics and Monetary Affairs Committee
In case you missed it Lord Hill (the Prime Minister's choice for EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Markets and Capital Markets Union) had his 3 hour ‘confirmation hearing’ today in the EU Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.
I asked him 3 simple questions:
1) To whom does he think he owes allegiance in his new role - the UK or the EU?
2) As an EU Commission ‘junior team member’ how will he defend jobs in The City from expensive EU regulations?
3) What taxes will be levied on UK consumers of financial services for unnecessary EU regulation?
The answers were not encouraging. First, there’s not good news for the PM as it is clear that Lord Hill won't help his old boss renegotiate the UK's position in the EU. He hasn't even got his feet under the desk but already he's the EU's man. He stated that there are over 400 regulatory matters in his in-tray to be considered and made it very clear that it’s “not my role” to protect the interests of The City from EU regulation. He also “wants to complete implementation of his predecessor’s rules as soon as possible”.
Second, even if Lord Hill wanted to save The City from EU regulation of banker’s remuneration he can’t because he has been stripped of responsibility for it. A decision he says is the 'right one as it is a corporate governance issue'. Really? I thought corporate governance was critical to financial stability - and financial stability is in his job title.
Most disturbing is that Lord Hill agreed with MEPs that regulation for a Banking Union should be for ALL 28 Member States.
Finally, it was clear that Lord Hill was not briefed on anti-Money laundering, Eurobonds or EU regulatory taxes on UK financial services. He had no idea of how to answer my third question even though his employment contract (the "Mission Letter" from Commission President Junker) instructs the new commissioner to find a way to eliminate EU and national budgetary contributions to the 3 EU regulators that now govern our financial services industry and they "should be wholly financed by the sectors they supervise." As 80% of the EU financial services are conducted in the UK, most of the cost of this regulation will be born by the UK rather than by the Eurozone which it is designed to protect. For the UK that means higher costs for businesses and fewer jobs as a result.
The City must prepare for the battle of Juncker-Hill!