Joint answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission Written questions : E-001195/12 , E-001558/12
A proposal amending the Credit Rating Agencies (CRA III) Regulation was adopted by the Commission on 15 November 2011. It is the third component of an ambitious regulatory framework for credit rating agencies. The proposal includes far reaching amendments to the current Credit Rating Agencies Regulation. The major initiatives are the following: less investors’ reliance on ratings; more transparent and timely sovereign ratings; more diversity and independence of credit rating agencies; more transparency and comparability of credit rating agencies; civil liability of credit rating agencies.
The setting up of a new independent credit rating agency was one of the options outlined in the Commission services' consultation paper of 5 November 2010 and was also discussed with stakeholders at a roundtable on 6 July 2011. The Commission has assessed the feasibility of establishing a new independent European credit rating foundation and independent European CRA in the impact assessment accompanying its latest legislative proposal. This analysis showed that setting up a credit rating agency with public money, irrespective of its particular model, would be costly (estimated ca EUR 300-500 million over a period of five years) and it could raise concerns regarding the CRA’s credibility and independence.
For these reasons, the Commission has decided not to pursue this idea further at this stage. However, the Commission is in favour of and welcomes any private initiative of setting up of European credit rating agency.
The Commission is also taking action to promote diversity in the rating market and independence of CRAs by proposing, among other measures, a mandatory rotation of CRAs after a certain period.