Osborne's tough stance on bank rules shows UK's leadership
Posted, May 03, 2012 @ 14:00
Chancellor George Osborne has won praise for his tough stance last night (Wednesday) in facing down attempts by fellow EU finance ministers to water down EU rules on bank safety.
Kay Swinburne MEP, Conservative spokesman on economic and monetary affairs in the European Parliament, said Mr Osborne had shown courage and determination by insisting that the UK and the City of London must be allowed to apply rigorous standards wherever appropriate, even if the rest of Europe was content to allow less-exacting safeguards.
Mr Osborne made his stand at a meeting in Brussels at which he firmly told his opposite numbers from the rest of the EU he refused to endorse a plan for new international rules on capital requirements which he said would leave him "looking stupid" five minutes after they had been signed.
Dr Swinburne said: "In sticking up for good regulation and maintaining global standards, the Chancellor is showing that we have learnt the lessons of the crisis.
"The UK is the leading global financial centre and is expected to lead by example in implementing global agreements.
"Our success stems from historically having set the high standards that global investors require when they choose where to put their money.
"If France and Germany choose not to implement the internationally-agreed BaSLE standards, aimed at improving the safety of their banks, that is a matter for them. They must not stop us from doing so.
"A single high standard across all of the EU - if not the world - would clearly be preferable in terms of the financial stability of the financial system; but if this is not possible then the significance and leadership of London can not be ignored.
"The UK has learnt the lessons of the financial crisis, where global agreements were watered down or not implemented. Now we are re-emphasising the UK's reputation as a well-regulated and well-supervised, yet open and competitive destination for global finance.
"With so much other regulation about to be negotiated on capital markets, banking resolution schemes and pensions policy, the Chancellor gave a timely reminder to the rest of the EU that we are the global leaders in financial services for a reason. We have the knowledge, skills and experience - and those standards need to be respected."