Lord Hill: I will put EU laws above Britain’s national interest

Lord Hill of Oareford

Lord Hill of Oareford Photo: PA

Lord Hill has vowed that as the European Union’s new financial services regulator he will “work for the common European interest” to ensure there is no return to “wild risk taking” in City of London

(SOURCE)  In a hearing in the European Parliament today, the Conservative peer promised MEPs that he would put EU regulation above Britain’s national interest at a time when the Government is legally contesting European financial legislation to defend the City.

Lord Hill, 54, told MEPs that he accepted there was no going back to the days of light touch regulation before the EU took new powers to regulate the financial sector in the wake of the banking crisis in 2008.

“We are all agreed there can be no going back to pre-crisis days. No going back to the wild risk taking with its terrible toll on the jobs and living standards of so many of our citizens. No going back to our banks having to be rescued on the back of taxpayers,” he said.

“There is one overarching theme, and that is transparency. This is essential in terms of what we require financial institutions to do. They need to know what risks they are taking, and to explain those risks to their customers. Supervisors need to know too. Most of the rules you have put in place all include tough transparency requirements. And rightly so in terms of helping to restore trust, and with it, confidence.”

Lord Hill promised MEPs he would enforce EU rules restricting banker bonuses as supervisor’s investigate allegations that the legislation is being dodged by major City banks and amid a legal challenge from the UK.

“I think incentives need to be aligned with performance. That alignment broke down before the crisis,” he said. “Legislation has been adopted and should be upheld.”

In a setback for Lord Hill and to appease MEPs, Mr Juncker transferred responsibility for enforcing the banker bonus caps away from him to Vera Jourova, the proposed justice commissioner, as part of her role policing corporate rules, such as the number of women on company boards

“The decision taken by Mr Juncker was to bring these issues under one roof of corporate governance and I can understand the sense of that,” he said.

In a tame hearing, he assured MEPs concerned over David Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum on Europe that he was a strong supporter of EU membership, assurances that will dismay backbench Eurosceptic Tory MPs who want a commissioner ready to fight Britain’s corner in Brussels.

“I want Britain to be part of a successful EU. That makes sense for Britain. And it makes sense for the EU,” he said.

“So yes, I want to work for the common European interest and I want my country to remain part of a Union of 500 million people with shared values, who live together, work together, trade together and who face global challenges together.”

“I am not here as a representative of the City of London. I am here to represent European interests.”

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