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MEP: EU exit would be ‘disaster’ for UK financial services


Economic and monetary affairs committee chair and Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles says it would be a disaster for financial services if the UK voted to leave the EU.

Prime minister David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU and hold an in/out referendum on the new relationship in 2017.

Bowles says thousands of financial services jobs across the country rely on EU membership and would be under threat if the UK left the union.

She says: “It would be a disaster as there would be no more passporting into Europe. The idea that without the passport the UK would be the financial capital of Europe is absolutely not the case. Financial services would be one of the areas that is hugely impacted.”

Bowles also dismissed calls from the FreshStart group of more than 100 Conservative MPs for the UK to remain in the EU but wield a veto over financial services rules, claiming
it is “impossible” to achieve.

Bowles says: “It absolutely will not work, it is total rubbish and there is not a cat in hell’s chance of it happening. The other countries will not yield to it because financial services is part of the single market. We do not allow the Germans to have a veto over car manufacturing rules, so it is a non-starter.”

But Conservative MEP Vicky Ford, who last week kick-started the debate over how to reform EU financial services rules, says Bowles is wrong to say a no vote would be a disaster.

She says: “It is an over-reaction to say a no vote will automatically be a disaster without knowing what the terms of the relationship will be. Does the rest of the EU really want UK firms to never get a passport?

“This is a complex renegotiation and financial services will play a key part so it is wrong to pre-judge it.

“We cannot keep going on as we are at the moment.”



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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Like Switzerland. Yeah, they never recovered from leaving the EU. Oh, hang on!?!

    The EU is about as anti-Financial Services as one can get – nobody can forget the French delight in having a commissioner responsible for regulation of the City of London, and their obsession with the Financial Transaction Tax is a case in point as to how they could damage UK financial services…

    …the FCA is no longer able to grant temporary waivers for IFAs in tight PI markets because…of the EU’s IMD. The current FCA handbook is full of inaccessible jargon that never matches what the FCA say they mean because…of the EU’s MiFID. et cetera, et cetera.

    The sooner we withdraw the better. Plus we will save on having to pay MEP salaries and expenses.

  2. European politicians rejected three cost-cutting measures, which would have seen salaries frozen and travel allowances cut, in a move branded as “shameful”.

    The first amendment to be voted down called for MEPs and senior EU staff to fly economy class for journeys of less than four hours around Europe instead of business class – a proposal that would have saved an estimated £20m a year.

    They then rejected an amendment which recommended that “savings in the Parliament should start by its own members”, which called for no further increases in MEP salaries and their various parliamentary allowances in 2012.

    Finally they rejected a third amendment which stated MEPs should not be paid for both being in the Parliament and travelling to or from it. MEPs receive an average flat rate allowance of £168 to cover the cost of travelling from their homes to either Brussels or Strasbourg.

    MEPs are paid an average £83,000 per year, compared to MPs in Britain, who have an annual salary of £65,738.

    “MEPs will next year take home £91,000 in tax free expenses without having to provide any proof of expenditure as part of an increased pay and perks package”
    Telegraph 2010

    Perhaps MS Bowles has a vested interest in such scaremongering

  3. 1. I happen to agree with Sharon Bowles

    2. We already have a financial transaction tax – far in excess of what Europe proposes – it’s called Stamp Duty and SDRT.

    3. If people will insist on making comments about the cost of Europe I do wish they would do the research. HMRC have published the statistics on where your tax £ goes. It may interest you to know that we pay 5 times more for Foreign Aid than we do for the EU. If you want to talk about scandalous waste then perhaps that’s where you should start. I do realise that in the end it is probably the Mercedes factory that is the greatest beneficiary of our charitable munificence. At least the money we pay to Europe does try to benefit the wider community including us – you may not like it, or think it effective – but that’s what it set up to do. Unlike us chucking money away in Foreign Aid for absolutely no return.

  4. Same difference Harry.
    The research above is proof of money wasted.
    Europe has become the insatiable beast that will devour us.

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