Kick-starting the internal market and better regulating the financial services sector were the main points elaborated upon by Michel Barnier, commissioner-designate for the internal market and services, during his hearing in the European Parliament. MEPs from two EP committees questioned him on the social dimension of the single market and on his ideas for regulating Europe´s financial sector in the long term.
Affected by the French "No" to the draft Constitution in 2005, an undeniable "proof that Europe had strayed away from its citizens", Michel Barnier used his opening remarks to emphasise his intention of restoring citizens´ faith in the European project by "making sure the essence of the internal market is about those who live it on a daily basis: the citizens, consumers and businesses". The thorny question of public services in EU legislation, assistance to SMEs, the draft legislation for a European patent and the fight against counterfeiting were all brought up. The commissioner-designate also gave his views on regulating financial services saying that, "we must learn lessons from the crisis and we are going to learn. It is in the interest of Europe´s financial sector to be regulated smartly and efficiently". Replying to doubts about his impartiality in this area, Mr Barnier replied that, "I will take no orders from Paris, London or elsewhere".
A detailed press release will follow.
In the chair : Malcolm HARBOUR (CRE, UK)