Senior Conservatives have fired up the debate over the future role of financial services in the EU by calling on the industry to say which powers it wants renegotiated.
Speaking at a CityUK fringe event at the Conservative confrerence in Manchester yesterday, Treasury financial secretary Greg Clark said the UK had been successful in European negotiations impacting financial services, but said further negotiation lay ahead before the in/out referendum on Europe in 2017.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate the UK’s role within the EU before the referendum is held. The Government is also carrying out a review to decide which powers would be better held at a national level.
Responding to a question from Money Marketing, Clark said: “We are looking at the prospective powers on financial services so those of you in the industry and consumer groups should respond. It is the basis of our assessment. Since I became Treasury minister one year ago we have struck some major successes, not least for the banking union.There will be negotiation ahead of the referendum but we have a record of achievement.”
Conservative MEP Syed Kamall said: “While it is quite clear on employment and justice that we should opt out, I hear different voices on financial services. Even on the referendum I hear one insurance firm say it would cost 1,000 jobs in London but then some hedge funds and private equity firms say ‘get the hell out of there’.
“In order to make up our minds up we need to hear more from you. We have had some success when we have played politics and taken the time to build a coalition over issues but there are some areas where, no matter how hard we try, where there is a built-in majority against the British interest.”
CityUK is publishing a detailed report into the EU and financial services where it will lay out some concerns from the sector over the EU.