French commissioner Michel Barnier takes on vital EU regulation post

The European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has announced his new team of commissioners including new internal market commissioner and former French agriculture minister Michel Barnier who will take over from Charlie McCreevy.

Olli Rhen from Finland has been given the financial and monetary affairs position which he will take over from Spaniard Joaquin Almunia who has moved to take up the competition brief.

Barroso says: “I’m confident that the Commissioners, who will be presented to the European Parliament, can be decisive in steering Europe towards sustainable recovery and a smarter, greener social market economy that works for people.

“In 5 years time I want this Commission to have been instrumental in leading Europe out of the economic crisis towards a competitive economy that provides sustainable growth and prosperity for all our citizens for many years to come. That is our number one task.”

The role of internal markets commissioner will be vital to the proposed European reforms of packaged retail investment products and may well influence the outcome of the retail distribution review.

The FSA will have to get a number of its RDR proposals, such as those involving qualifications and remuneration, rubber stamped by the European Commission as they go beyond current European regulations.

It is understood the UK is pushing for financial services to have a separate dossier with the role of internal markets commissioner split.

Cicero Consulting director Iain Anderson says: “This is a very significant appointment for the UK financial sector. It will mean an intense period of lobbying in the next five years to ensure the UK does not lose ground.”


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