What influence does the financial lobby have over banking regulation and other financial markets?
Many who walked past the BNP Paribas Fortis' central Brussels branch during their lunch break yesterday were surprised by what they saw: activists-turned-bailiffs removing tables, chairs and other materials from the building, leaving them out on the pavement.
The actions of the European institutions ahead of the Greek elections seem hell bent on undermining a potential new Syriza government. The European Central Bank in particular is taking on an outright political role.
The EU's Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada could unleash a wave of corporate lawsuits against Canada, the EU and its member states – including through the Canadian subsidiaries of US multinational corporations. This is the result of an in-depth analysis of CETA’s investor rights by Corporate Europe Observatory and 14 other environmental NGOs, citizens’ groups and workers unions from both sides of the Atlantic published today.
Is it appropriate to let a former board member of a Deutsche Bank investment fund go straight from there to a key position in the new European supervisory structure for banks? What's the problem with hiring people with strong links to financial corporations to monitor the big banks? Or to be part of decisions on whether measures to ensure financial stability should be imposed on them or not? And can they keep working in the financial sector at the same time?
If you ask the European Central Bank, there is absolutely no problem with this scenario.
Newly-released documents show that as far as financial regulation is concerned, lobbyists are besieging the Commission – which has an open door policy towards them. Can the new Commission fare better? And why is its prospective commissioner responsible for this area, Jonathan Hill, a former financial lobbyist?
The ESM, the euro area’s permanent bailout fund set up in 2012, is an international organization that operates behind closed doors, far from public scrutiny. The institution at the heart of EU loans to debt-ridden member states is doing its best to stave off any national influence over the conditions attached to its loans. In addition it is working closely with private consultancies, which appear to have conflicts of interest. However, the ESM is immune to democracy; we have no right to know what it is up to.
A Tribunal on EU economic governance and the Troika took place in Brussels on 15-16 May. Eleven witnesses from ten countries in Southern, Eastern and Western Europe gave testimony to the failure of the EU and Troika policies to address the crisis. Indeed, people’s lives and livelihoods have been devastated by the austerity and other policy measures.
Despite a manifest presence of “the financial lobby” in the EU decision-making, until now there has been no comprehensive survey of its size and power in the EU. A new report by CEO, ÖGB Europabüro and AK EUROPA is intended to fill that void. The findings are stunning. In total the financial industry spends more than €120 million per year on lobbying in Brussels and employs more than 1700 lobbyists.
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