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19 May 2014

FN: EU elections could help Left to renew push on regulation

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This week’s EP elections may trigger a tougher environment for financial regulation in Europe. Although anti-EU parties are expected to fare well, polls predict stronger gains for parties in the European United Left/Nordic Green Left grouping, which has taken a hard line on banking and markets.

The impact of the European United Left’s gains could be magnified if many of the eurosceptic MPs refuse to engage with the parliament’s processes. PJ Di Giammarino, chief executive of financial services regulation think tank JWG Group, said: "A more leftist parliament would likely introduce rules which promote more fairness, greater protection and transparency. It could have a major impact on open regulation such as benchmarks."

A slew of regulations were left unfinished when MEPs returned to their home countries to campaign. Although legislation for benchmarks – designed to prevent a repeat of the Libor scandal – is at the top of the list, the agenda also includes structural reform of the European banking sector and rules for money market funds.

A person close to the European United Left said the future stance of the group on financial legislation was unclear but that measures in some areas, such as the EU banking union, had not gone far enough to protect taxpayers and put an end to the problem of banks being too big to fail.

Kay Swinburne, a Conservative MEP who is standing for re-election, said: "The results on the European election are going to be really important for future EU financial regulation. In the case of the [European United Left], I am concerned that in the last mandate they questioned the very existence of our capital markets."

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© Financial News

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