EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about EU banking watchdogs was published by EurActiv on 3rd September 2010.

EU negotiators reached agreement yesterday (2 September) on a package of measures to beef up supervision of the bloc’s banks, giving new EU watchdogs a mandate to overrule national authorities and ban risky financial products that were widely blamed for the world’s worst recession in decades.

Negotiators from the EU’s three institutions – the EU Council of Ministers, the European Parliament and the European Commission – reached a political consensus last night on the package.

“This is not light-touch regulation. It is comprehensive and intelligent,” the chair of the Parliament’s economics committee, UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles, told journalists.

A European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) and three new European Supervisory Authorities – a European Banking Authority (EBA), a European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and a European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) – will form part of the new architecture of financial supervision agreed yesterday.

The trio of new financial watchdogs will be complemented by a group attached to the European Central Bank that will keep watch for other economic risks, like a property price bubble.

“We will have the control tower and the radar screens needed to identify risks,” said Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of the internal market, giving his blessing to the four new bodies.

But how tough or independent these bodies will be remains to be seen, say officials.

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