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Capital Requirements Directive - rapporteur Karas interviewed

Economic and monetary affairs - 11-05-2009 - 12:18
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Austrian MEP Othmar Karas in the Chamber in Brussels just prior to the debate on the Capital Requirements Directive for which he was Parliament's rapporteur.  Strasbourg, Thursday 6 May 2009

Austrian MEP Othmar Karas in the Chamber in Brussels just prior to the debate on the Capital Requirements Directive for which he was Parliament's rapporteur. Strasbourg, Thursday 6 May 2009

MEPs have backed new rules to rebuild trust in Europe's battered banks through better financial supervision and risk management. The Capital Requirements Directive also contains rules that govern how financially exposed a bank can become. The proposed new rules should swiftly become EU law as they have the approval of governments. Last week in Strasbourg we spoke to Austrian Christian Democrat MEP Othmar Karas who steered the measures through the EP.

One the roots of the existing crisis is the knock on effect of one troubled bank on the rest of the market. The new rules say that a bank cannot expose more than 25% of its own funds to a client or a group of clients. Parliament approved the rules on 6 May we spoke to 51 year old Mr Karas about the issues.
 
What effect will your report have?  Will ordinary people notice the difference?
 
This directive we passed is a cornerstone of European legislation to tackle the financial and economic crisis. It is our duty at this time to find new, clear and transparent rules for the financial market sector.
 
We are sending out the right signal ahead of the European elections in presenting effective and efficient European answers, simplifying the regulation of the financial markets, establishing more security and significantly developing the financial market as a reaction of the financial crisis. We all benefit from an efficient and functioning financial market system.
 
As someone with experience in the banking and insurance sector, would you say this report is coming "just in time" or in "high time?"

Capital Requirements Directive

  • Legislation which aims to improve banking transparency and risk management
  • Revises rules on maximum financial exposure of banks
  • EU-wide college of "banking supervisors" established
  • Proposes new securitisation rules
  • MEPs and EU governments in agreement that rules come into force rapidly
For years MEPs have been calling for further development of financial market regulations. Regrettably the financial crisis had to happen to enable us to start working on real and sustainable developments. Nevertheless I am looking more to the future than to the past. I am happy that we now have the chance to design a more efficient framework, building on what we already have.
 
With two reports on Credit rating agencies (the other is by Jean-Paul Gauzès), would you say the European Parliament and the EU more generally have done enough to respond to the financial crisis?
 
We have given a first and quick answer. But this was just the first step. The European Parliament and the European Union have designed a strong and convincing European answer which can serve as a model for a global solution and this is what we aim for. But further steps have to follow.
 
The new rules about supervision in the financial market sector, restrictions on banks' “large exposures”, tighter control of securitisation and the quality of capital of banking institutions are designed to reinforce the stability on the financial system. But they must and will not be our last word.
 
After the European Elections we will immediately resume our work. We need a more ambitious integrated European System of Supervision, new rules on Hedge Funds and other alternative investments, just to mention a few upcoming issues.
 
 
 
REF.: 20090504STO54876