The UK has battled to keep its banking and financial system out of EU regulation and taxation. We have been assured that the EU will not impose taxes on us against our will. We have been assured the UK will not have to be part of any future Euroland bail out. The UK government negotiated an opt out for UK banks from some of the regulations the EU requires of others. So far so good.
11 member states of the EU plan to press ahead with a Financial Transactions Tax despite the opposition of the UK and a majority of the member states. They will seek to impose this on some business in London as well as on business in Paris and Frankfurt. This week we read of legal advice concerning the UK’s partial opt out from banking regulations. The EU is now claiming that banking is part of the single market, so the UK cannot opt out.
The federal ECB and ECJ continue in their quest to harmonise and control most of EU life. The ECJ is often unhelpful to carefully crafted exemptions and opt outs which UK governments have successfully negotiated. It should make us doubly wary of what the EU might offer when the renegotiation gets underway. One of the issues in the negotiation must be the issue of trust, and how to avoid the Court overruling us when it suits them to do so.
The City has been a longstanding friend of the EU, believing it will increase its business reach. Now the City is increasingly in the front line in dispute with its new regulators and masters. The EU has taken a different view on remuneration, proprietary trading, short selling, the Financial Transaction Tax and banking regulation than many in the City wish. Will this start to change City enthusiasm for continued membership on current terms. The City will not disagree with the EU on the things that matter to more voters, but if the City ceases to be such a cheerleader for the EU it might make a difference to others in the debate.