European Commission (EC) Internal Market and Service commissioner Michel Barnier has formed a high-level expert group to provide more insight into how to reform the structure of Europe’s banking sector.
The group has been mandated to determine whether, in addition to on-going regulatory reforms in Europe, “structural reforms” would “strengthen financial stability and improve efficiency and consumer protection”. If the group believes structural reforms are required in Europe, it will make relevant proposals.
The group is expected to begin its investigations in February, with a view to complete its work in the European summer.
Erkki Liikanen, currently Governor of the Bank of Finland and formerly a Member of the European Commission, will lead the group as chairman.
Barnier originally announced the group during a November session of the European Parliament, with the aim of providing a greater understanding of structural aspects of banking across the European Union.
In July 2011, the Directorate-General for Internal Market and Service proposed a directive governing access to deposit-taking activities and a regulation governing how activities of credit institutions and investment firms are carried out.
Presently, European member states are in the process of implementing new capital requirements for financial institutions.
A spokesperson for the Directorate-General would not be drawn on the nature of “structural reforms” but said Barnier and Liikanen were presently considering the “composition of the group”.
“I expect this group to make all the recommendations as regards the structure of EU banks it deems necessary to strengthen financial stability and enable banks to fully play their role in favour of the single market and European growth,” Barnier said.
Rather than feed directly into European regulation proposals, high-level expert groups deliver commissioners and their directorate-generals additional analysis of a particular issue and provide visibility and importance to a specific issue. In the past, high-level expert groups have been formed by EC commissioners to probe a wide range of topics from literacy and technology to scientific data and milk.