Friday, October 31, 2008

Who are the masters now?

An innocent Parliamentary written question asked by Ann Winterton MP, sought from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, "whether financial services regulation is an exclusive competence of the European Union."

The question elicited from Ian Pearson, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, the following response:

The regulation of financial services is an exclusive EU competence where the EU has adopted directives and regulations in the field and where there is general EU law that applies to financial firms, for example, the state aid rules. Member states can only legislate in the field covered by a directive (unless explicitly allowed to do so by the directive) in order to implement EU law, to provide further necessary detail or to ensure its proper enforcement, for example by adding sanctions for non-compliance.

Where permissible under a directive, a member state may go further than EU law but only if it does not contradict EU law.

Some issues concerning regulation of financial services are not covered by EU competence, for example regulation of mortgage lending.
I think we knew this already, but I wonder whether Mr Cameron and his jolly pals do.