#AceFinanceNews – BRUSSELS – September 26 – The European Commission has played down suggestions that it had deliberately stripped the UK’s commission candidate of responsibility for policing the EU’s bank bonus rules.
Officials with Commission President designate, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the decision to put bank bonus rules in the hands of the bloc’s justice commissioner had been taken before Jonathan Hill, a British Conservative, had been nominated for the post of financial services chief.
“This was a decision that was made when forming the justice portfolio,” Juncker’s spokeswomen Natasha Bernaud told reporters on Friday (26 September).
“This was a decision that was taken and made public on 10th September…so it’s really nothing new,” she added.
Under the proposed division of competences within the EU executive, Hill will be responsible for financial stability, financial services and capital markets. Aside from financial sector regulation, the portfolio will include the completion of the EU’s ambitious banking union legislation.
Meanwhile, oversight of the bank bonus rules will be part of the portfolio of Czech politician Vera Jourova, the proposed justice commissioner, in the context of company law.
The UK is currently embroiled in a court battle with the European Commission over the bank bonus rules, one of three legal challenges to financial services rules that the UK has lodged with the European Court of Justice in the last three years.
The EU’s institutions passed several laws aimed at curbing excessive executive pay in the 2009-2014 term, instigated by outgoing single market commissioner Michel Barnier.
Under the latest capital requirements directive adopted in 2013, bank bonuses are capped at the same level of salary, although banks are permitted to pay bonuses worth up to twice basic salary levels following a shareholder vote.
However, Bernaud stated that the capital requirements rules for banks will form part of Hill’s portfolio.