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24 September 2012

Sharon Bowles: Europe negativity risks marginalising UK

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MEP and chair of the ECON committee Sharon Bowles has called on the financial services sector to stop being negative about European regulation or risk being marginalised.

Bowles said: “The industry needs to stop being negative about Europe. It seems like we do not want regulation and it plays very badly on the other side of the channel. They think we are saying we want to do our own thing when actually it is much more sensible.

“The City is actually quite pro-Europe if you take the top level, the sensible level, but it is perceived as very anti-EU. It is up to the sensible side to make the loudest noise in our newspapers.

“How many City bosses have actually come forward and put their name in print? They sneak in and tell people privately but they will not be positive about Europe because they think it is not on the Conservative agenda and not helpful to other lobbying.”

Bowles says the creation of a eurozone banking union represents a crucial moment for Britain’s membership of the EU, with many countries expecting Britain to leave. She said: “European ministers from other countries are not taking any notice of the UK because they think it is on the way out. I am immersed in it and from this side it does not look that we are all powerful and leading the way. We have a lot of expertise and Europe always relies on it but we are at a really crucial time for our long-term survival within the EU.”

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