UK rejects Italian calls for single EU regulator

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BRUSSELS – The UK chancellor, Alistair Darling, rejected calls for pan-European regulation of financial markets at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

However, Darling maintained his support for minor reforms of the system, which enables national supervisors to co-operate on cross-border issues while maintaining autonomy and flexibility at home.

Italian chancellor Tomasso Padoa-Schioppa called for a more centralised approach to financial markets regulation, and for a new regime that would see Brussels set binding rules on EU member states.

Ministers at the Ecofin summit discussed the recent review of the Lamfalussy system, while European commissioner for internal markets and services Charlie McCreevy’s speech highlighted the need for greater co-ordination between national regulators to monitor the financial markets in the wake of the subprime crisis.

Not for the first time, McCreevy suggested the idea of a pan-European regulator, formed by Europe's financial regulators joining together to create a college with a rotating chairman – similar in substance to the supervisory system in place at NYSE Euronext. The chairmanship of the Euronext Regulatory College rotates from country to country in order to improve co-ordination and facilitate the decision making process. Such a body would help to remove the barriers to cross-border business and help provide more unity in financial regulation, according to McCreevy.

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