11 September 2014
Greens in the European Parliament have reacted with disbelief and bewilderment to news that Eurosceptic UK Commissioner Lord Hill is to be given the portfolio for financial services. The post, fully entitled "financial stability, financial services and capital markets union" Commissioner, is a significant economic post in the European Commission. Lord Hill will be responsible for implementing supervisory rules for banks and Greens fear he will use his new position to safeguard the City of London from regulation and block any radical change.
Commenting on today’s appointment, Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West said:
“So, a country and a government that has been the biggest obstacle to European financial markets reform is handed the portfolio of running banking regulation! Hill’s appointment represents a free lunch for the City and those who work in the sector must be laughing all the way to their next pay cheque. One of my colleagues aptly remarked that this was a bit like appointing a goat to look after the cabbages!”
Greens also argue that the appointment of Lord Hill is a conflict of interest because he was founding director of Quiller who are lobbyists working on behalf of financial interests.
The European Parliament has to give its consent to the entire list of Commissioners and Greens are decidedly unhappy about a number of appointments, including that of Lord Hill. Co-presidents of the Green group in the European Parliament, Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts, said:
"It is regrettable that in some cases national and party interests seem once again to have been more important than competence. A prime example is the decision to propose Lord Hill as commissioner in charge of financial services and the banking union. This poacher-turned-gamekeeper approach is clearly not what is needed in the sensitive area of financial services and it is a provocation to put him in charge of the EU's banking union.”
The proposed commissioners will now face scrutiny by the European Parliament; MEPs must decide whether to say yes or no to the team as a whole. The Green group is planning to play a constructive role in this process and have set up a blog for Green Group members to analyse the nominees and their portfolios.