Sarkozy claimed that the appointment of Barnier would curb the “free-wheeling Anglo-Saxon model” of finance, sparking a response from Chancellor Alistair Darling in The Times today.
The BBA says Sarkozy’s “hostile” comments undermine the principle that commissioners serve all member states equally and casts doubts over his appointment to the role.
Speaking at the Worshipful Company of International Bankers’ luncheon in London today, BBA chief executive Angela Knight said: “Monsieur Sarkozy must surely recognise that he has undermined the EU with his statements and put a question mark over the impartiality of his nominated Commissioner that will not be easily dispelled.
“If anyone in the European project thinks for a minute that they are capable of subverting the years of effort it took us to make the UK the world’s financial centre, they are sadly mistaken. At stake here are at least half a million jobs and the tax revenues which will contribute more than anything else to replenishing the Exchequer after this recession.
“It also needs to be more widely recognised that the City brings benefits to all of the EU, not just the UK. The EU is the centre of much of the world’s commerce, and it is important that it remain so.”