Sven Giegold

ECON rejects ex-lobbyist as EBA-chief: strong signal against the influence of the banking lobby

Today the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) voted on candidates for vacancies in the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Single Resolution Board (SRB). For EBA, the vote was on the position of Executive Director and for the SRB on the position of the Vice-President and two other members. The candidate for EBA, Gerry Cross, was rejected by the committee by 27 votes to 24 in a secret ballot, including by our Green votes. Social Democrats, left and liberal MEPs had also announced that they would reject him.

Cross is currently the Irish member of the Board of Supervisors of the EBA and before that he worked for the big banking lobby AFME. He had also voted in favour of the lax conditions for Adam Farkas move to AFME in the EBA Board of Supervisors. There were also candidates with less lobby background available for the position. The three candidates for the SRB were confirmed, despite the lack of gender balance, as only men were nominated. Greens had voted against the SRB vice president because of the gender imbalance. This is because the Commission had only proposed one male candidate for this post, although it is legally required to present a shortlist of candidates to the European Parliament. Today’s vote still has to be confirmed by the plenary of the European Parliament.

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

„The rejection of Cross is a strong signal against the powerful influence of the banking lobby in Brussels. A former banking lobbyist as head of banking supervision would have done serious damage to the reputation of the EU authority. Such conflicts of interest undermine confidence in EU authorities. The nomination of Cross was unnecessary and incomprehensible, as candidates with less of a lobbying background were available. The Commission must submit a proposal for a European ethics authority as soon as possible and tighten the rules for changes between public authorities and lobby organisations.

The confirmation of the three candidates for the SRB is a setback for gender balance in male-dominated EU financial authorities. Commission and Council must present gender-balanced shortlists for future vacancies. The European Parliament must not accept further male-only appointments in order not to jeopardise its own credibility. The call for more gender justice also goes out to the member states, as they often sit on the decision-making bodies of the authorities“.