Arguing that there must be more integration Jose Manuel Barroso, the 11th president of the European Commission, said that a single rulebook for financial services was being put in place. But not just for the Eurozone but for the 'single market', by which he of course means the wider EU. Nothing new here, that's what the EBA was set up for after all, but what will be driving the single rulebook, the EU or the Eurozone?
Writing in the Guardian, Mr Barroso wrote that the commission will be presenting its proposals for the Single Banking Supervisory Mechanism on the 12th September.
The proposals are it seems aimed at the Eurozone but in the final paragraph he says: 'Moreover, it is the start of something much bigger'. So one has to wonder what could be 'much bigger' than just about completely integrating Eurozone member states' banking systems. Unless of course we are talking about the total single state of Euroland (or even wider).
The SBSM will have three principles:
- A common single Eurozone banking supervision.
- The credibility of having the ECB at the heart of the new system.
- All Eurozone banks will be covered by the new system and there will be a bridge to the wider EU membership "…some of which may want to participate in the new supervisory mechanisms".
Mr Barroso claims that this new system will not require any treaty changes and should be in place by January 2013.
He also says that "In parallel, the European Banking Authority will continue to perform its existing tasks, namely developing the single rulebook for the entire single market and ensuring convergent supervisory practice throughout the EU." – See Para (22) page 4 of the regulation that set it up (eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2010:331:0012:0047:EN:pdf). One supposes that this is the 'bridge' referred to above.
Now, if there are no treaty changes required and the UK, as a non-member, cannot directly influence whatever integration measures the ever-more-like-a-single-state Eurozone puts in place, then will that mean that the rest of the EU will be effectively forced to adopt whatever the Eurozone does?
I say this because in between presenting its proposals and having them in place will only give three or so months for non-Eurozone countries to do anything about it. And then again it does not give the Eurozone member citizens much time (or say) either, does it?
Of course you could argue that all Mr Barroso was saying was that the SBSM will be working within the single market rulebook being set up by the EBA. But he didn't, did he? He talked about the EBA working 'in parallel', other countries outside the Eurozone participating in the new Eurozone framework, of a 'bridge' to the rest of the EU and that 'much bigger' plan.
The Eurozone is fast becoming the elephant in the rowing boat (if it isn't already). Just look at the combined voting power it will have when it becomes one fully integrated unit. For example, under the Treaty of Lisbon the allocation of the 750 MEPs should be 'degressively proportional' so larger states do not wield disproportionate power. Then there are the seats on various committees etc as well as the membership of the commission itself. Surely as one single state the Eurozone would need to have its voting wings clipped across the board?