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Italian socialist to lead European Parliament on financial regulation

Italian Socialist Roberto Gualtieri has been elected as chair of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.

He replaces British Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles who chaired the committee for five years.

The committee, known as Econ, is responsible for developing the Parliament’s position on economic and financial proposals from the Commission. The chair then attends trialogues – meetings between the Parliament, Commission and the Council which represents member states – where final rules are hammered out.

Under Bowles, the committee worked on 60 pieces of financial regulation including Mifid II, Priips and the Insurance Mediation Directive.

The UK has six MEPs on the committee: Ukip’s Patrick O’Flynn and Stephen Woolfe, Labour’s Anneliese Dodds and Neena Gill, Conservative Kay Swinburne and the Green Party’s Molly Scott Cato.

Two German MEPs will act as vice chairs: the centre-right European People’s Party’s Markus Ferber and Socialist and Democrat Peter Simon. Two more vice chairs are yet to be elected.

Gualitieri says: “We must make the years ahead a turning point for the EU’s businesses and the job prospects of citizens.  I will work tirelessly to ensure the legislation adopted is fit for goals set and will be at the forefront in ensuring the Parliament’s scrutiny role, especially on economic governance matter will be developed ambitiously.”

Gualtieri’s election will be welcome news in his native Italy which has begun its Presidency of the European Council. Its work programme for the six month tenure says it wants a “profound change” away from economic policy aimed at stabilising financial services and the eurozone and towards restoring growth and creating jobs.

One of the ways it intends to do this is by pressing for a speedy adoption of proposals for a European Long Term Investment Fund, aimed at those who want to invest in European businesses for the long term.

The Italians also want to “strengthen” the regulation of financial markets and “increase confidence” in intermediaries, though the document does not give further details.

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