Nessa Childers MEP questioned the EU Commission’s take on financial regulation as it negotiates a transatlantic trade agreement with the United States.
Speaking from Strasbourg this afternoon, where MEPs debated the state of the trade negotiations with the US authorities with the Commission during Parliament’s plenary session, Ms. Childers said:
“We have recently been brought up to date on the Commission’s trade dealings through the unfortunately usual means of leaked documents.
“The leaked Commission papers show that it is pushing for the mutual recognition of banking and finance rules that would enable market players to do business across the Atlantic under the laws that apply in their own jurisdiction.
“This proposal from the Commission will give a competitive advantage to those hailing from the side that applies the lightest touch to finance. This may well lead us down a regulatory race to the bottom.
“The US authorities are actually the ones who have so far resisted this idea, as they rightly fear it will make it more difficult to regulate banks and tie regulators hands on future reforms.
“US banks, on the other hand, will happily endorse the Commission’s approach, which seems designed to please the European banking sector in the first place.
“I am very interested in learning how wedded the Commission is to pushing for this mutual recognition approach and what it is willing to concede to the US in exchange.
“US multinationals stand to profit from the downgrading of the more stringent labour, environmental and data protection standards in force in the EU.
“Our American counterparts also want to include an investor-state dispute system, which is trade lingo for the ability for big corporations to sue governments in arbitration courts, for multimillion sums in compensation when regulations passed in the public interest eat into their profits.”
“This is simply not acceptable. I expect the newly elected Commission President, Mr. Juncker, to stand by his commitment, given to us in writing not to undermine EU legislation and reject any such invidious parallel mechanisms.”