SNP Caution On EU Financial Markets Report

23 September 2008
SNP Members of the European parliament Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton have today (Tuesday) expressed their reservations over and very guarded support for a report passed by the full parliament today in Brussels on Hedge Funds and Private Equity.

The report passed by 562 votes for to 86 against, with 25 abstentions but while the SNP duo on balance supported the report as a whole they reiterated their view that member states should have clear responsibility for regulation and any EU legislative competence in the area should not be increased.

Speaking after the vote Alyn Smith said:

"I reluctantly voted for this report, but have no enthusiasm for it. The eventual compromise is muddled, and crucially could be taken to be a call for a massive increase in EU competence where in my view financial regulation, like tax, should remain firmly with the member states themselves.

"That said, the UK authorities have clearly failed, and failed the Halifax Bank of Scotland group in particular, so the many references in the report to greater transparency and accountability are to be welcomed.

"But we should not get carried away. This report is an own initiative report which the European Commission has already said it will not take forward. The MEPs have today put forward some ideas on the financial crisis, and some of them are worthy, but we should not pretend that this report will actually make much difference."

Ian Hudghton added:

"While there is clearly an international dimension to the functions, and current problems, in the financial services sector, our core belief is that we want to see an independent Scotland with the powers to regulate the Scottish institutions in place of the UK Financial Services Authority, Bank of England and UK government.

"This report contained a number of reasonable suggestions which the UK authorities would do well to implement, but it also confused the good ideas with some which we should be wary of.

"It is clear that the UK authorities have let Scotland down and we could support constructive suggestions on tighter regulation, particularly proposals for EU-wide action to co-ordinate standards and increase transparency."