Today, the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) is holding hearings with candidates for vacant positions in the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Single Resolution Board (SRB). In the EBA, the position of Executive Director has to be filled, and in the SRB the Vice Chair and two other board positions. We asked the candidate for the EBA, Gerry Cross, critical questions because of his past in the financial lobby. Cross is currently the Irish member of the EBA’s Board of Supervisors. There would have been candidates with less lobby background available for the position, including female candidates. Regarding the three candidates for the SRB, many MEPs are angry about the lack of gender balance – only men were nominated. After today’s hearings, the committee will take a binding vote tomorrow, which still has to be confirmed by the plenary of the European Parliament. The final appointment of the four candidates depends on this.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“The nomination of an ex-lobbyist as EBA top executive would be another round for the revolving door between the financial lobby and the EU authorities. During his time at AFME, Cross campaigned in the interests of the big banks against the structural banking reform and the Financial Transaction Tax. At the time, AFME’s executive board included members of BNP, Deutsche Bank UK and Goldman Sachs. Citizens lose confidence in EU institutions when they are led by former chief lobbyists. Cross even supported the weak conditions imposed on Adam Farkas‘ move to AFME by the EBA’s Council of Supervisors, thus taking a different position from the European Parliament. He also did not vote against the closure of the EBA’s Danske Bank investigation that effectively buried the case.
The proposal of three men for the SRB sends the wrong signal at a time when even the cabinet of the European Commission President is balanced. The European Parliament cannot confine itself to asking critical questions to problematic candidates and in the end wave them through. This damages the credibility of the Parliament and risks that this kind of nominations will go on and on.
It is annoying that we MEPs always have to deal with conflicts of interest and gender imbalance in staff issues of the financial authorities. We finally need rules to ensure that conflicts of interest do not arise in the first place and that women and men have an equal chance for top positions.”