Financial Regulation Must Be Tailored
By Staff News & Analysis - October 20, 2009

As the European Parliament inaugurated its brand new special committee on the financial crisis, Wolf Klinz, the panel's chair, warned fellow lawmakers that "we must be prepared to have our own views on the degree of European regulation challenged". He spoke to EurActiv in an interview. Wolf Klinz MEP (ALDE, Germany) is chairman of the European Parliament's special committee on the financial crisis. He was talking to EurActiv's Claire Davenport. –

Dominant Social Theme: Reasonable considerations of reasonable regs?

Free-Market Analysis: They are keeping at it. In addition to forcing through the Lisbon Treaty, which is a big step toward building a United States of Europe, the EU mavens are continuing to move ahead with re-jiggered pan-European financial regulations.

In this interview, excerpted above, Wolf Klinz spoke about the potential for the new regs and how they would come about. The interview is also revealing for how Klinz, who is categorized as pro-business, regards the financial and monetary evolution of the EU.

Q: You are affiliated to the Federal German Party (FPD), which has an overtly pro-business view of economic policy. Were you surprised that this role did not go to a socialist who would advocate a tough approach on regulation?

A: I do not look at regulation from an ideological point of view. We should have regulation where it is needed. There are areas where I do not see the need for regulation. For instance: remuneration. In the member states there are proper governance bodies, shareholder meetings, and supervisory boards. We already have bodies that should consider themselves responsible for implementing proper remuneration policies in their companies.

Q: Were you disappointed that the Commission did not propose a pan-European supervisor but established the European System of Financial Supervisors, a body that will pool the resources of the national supervisors?

A: Yes I was. I personally would have gone a step further than the Commission's concept. I think industry is more willing to accept a pan-European solution than the commission or the supervisors.

Q: Why is that?

A: Well because people on the ground see the need and benefit of it – those that work cross-border of course. The crisis has shown that in many areas we need a really European approach.

Q: What is a European approach?

A; We have a single currency and perhaps increasingly so. We have to make sure in order to secure the success of single currency that we have a common European policy. We cannot have separate fiscal and economic policy.

Q: Does that include taxation?

A: To a certain extent, yes. I am not looking for a single tax system. But we should have a consolidated tax base. We should all calculate tax based on a company's profits, so on the same basis and then individual member states can apply their varying tax rates. But at least the basis of that calculation is the same.

Notice the emphasis on the European Union itself and the willingness to accept what he calls pan-European solutions. These solutions go well beyond regulation per se. The gentleman all but comes out and indicates that next up on the "to do" is a pan-European fiscal policy.

Europeans are taxed at a local and national level, and now they will receive the privilege of paying a European Union tax as well. And this from a gentleman who is not considered by the socialists running the EU as tough on regulation. In fact, he seems comfortable with a variety of "pan European" solutions. His way is the gradualist methodology, but it finds its way to the same place, nonetheless.

We've indicated we believe that those who are in favor of the EU and its current direction are doing the next generation no favors. In a perfectly reasonable tone, Wolf Klinz indicates what is in the immediate future for EU citizens. They can expect an overlay of regulatory authority, potential price-fixing (as regards salaries) at the federal level and of course the eventual implementation of an EU tax of some sort.

After Thoughts

Those who believed not so long ago that the EU was merely a trade association should by now have realized the truth about the unbounded aspirations of EU leaders. The EU probably will not work in the long haul but in the short run, EU ambitions will be paid for by long-suffering European citizens. It is ever thus. Those at the bottom of the pyramid support those at the top.

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