Sven Giegold

Gerry Cross rejected as EBA Executive Director: European Parliament takes a stand against lobbying influence

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Today, the plenary of the European Parliament voted on the filling of vacancies in the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Single Resolution Board (SRB). In concrete terms, the EBA is lacking an Executive Director and the SRB needs to replace its Vice Chair and two other board members. The candidate for the EBA, Gerry Cross, was rejected by the plenary by 336 votes in favour, 272 against and 48 abstentions. Before, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) had sent a negative recommendation for Cross to plenary by secret ballot by 27 votes to 24, with our Green votes and most likely those of Socialists, GUE and Liberals. I had campaigned hard for this. Cross is currently the Irish member of the Board of Supervisors of the EBA and before that he worked for the big banks’ lobby AFME. He had also voted in the EBA for the lax requirements for Adam Farkas to change sides to AFME. The shortlist contained also female candidates with a less prominent lobby background.

The three candidates for the SRB were confirmed by the plenary today after a positive committee vote, despite the lack of gender balance. Due to the lack of women, the Greens had voted against the SRB vice president in ECON and voted against all three SRB candidates today in plenary. In talks with the European Commission on SRB personnel issues, however, the ECON coordinators have already obtained concrete concessions from the Commission, so that more balanced shortlists for vacant positions can be expected in the future.

MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:

„With the rejection of Gerry Cross as EBA Executive Director, the European Parliament is defending itself against the overwhelming influence of the financial lobby. An ex-bank lobbyist in a top position would have damaged the reputation of the banking authority. Revolving doors between lobby organisations and EU authorities undermine citizens‘ trust in the European institutions. EBA’s nomination of Cross was unnecessary and incomprehensible, as suitable candidates with less prominent lobby background were available. The European Commission must submit a proposal for a European ethics authority as soon as possible and tighten the rules on changing sides.

The confirmation of the three SRB candidates is a setback for more equality in EU financial authorities. The European Commission and the Council of Ministers must follow Parliament’s resolution and only present balanced shortlists in the future. The Commission has already set the course for more female appointments, so that improvements can be expected in the future. The Member States must also stand up for more equal rights, because often the decisions on candidates lie with them“.

My press release about the rejection of Cross in the ECON committee:

European Parliament resolution on Gender balance in EU economic and monetary affairs‘ nominations: