Two new pan-EU bodies should be set up to monitor risks and better co-ordinate supervision of financial institutions in Europe, a report to the European Commission recommended yesterday, according to a draft.
Coming after the worst financial crisis in decades revealed flaws in Europe's current patchwork of national watchdogs, the draft, seen by Reuters, said regulation was too weak in the 27-nation European Union and that repair was urgently needed.
The report, compiled by a group headed by former Bank of France Governor, Jacques de Larosiere, will form the basis for a debate by EU leaders next month on financial supervision and could help shape Europe's position at the G20 summit in April.
"In essence, we have two alternatives: the first 'chacun pour soi' beggar-thy-neighbour solutions or the second, enhanced, pragmatic, sensible European cooperation for the benefit of all," de Larosiere said in the report.
The report sets out a two-phase process towards reforming supervision by beefing up existing frameworks this year and next before setting up the new bodies in 2011 and the year after.
The remedies fall short of creating a single, all-powerful pan-EU regulatory body – a leap too far for many EU states – but legislative change and some loss of national regulatory sovereignty would be needed to implement the recommendations.
Just 45 banks, such as BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and HSBC, hold 70 per cent of EU deposits.
Attempts to forge a European approach to supervision have been deadlocked for years as countries do not want to delegate oversight powers over key players on their financial market.
Policymakers hope the worst market crisis in 80 years will help change mindsets.
Big banks want a more streamlined system of supervision to cut down on the costly reporting requirements they face in all the EU countries they have branches.
Hard lobbying by ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet and other board members for a role in macro prudential supervision of the banking system has paid off.
The report recommended a new "European Systemic Risk Council", or ESRC, to be chaired by the European Central Bank, and include representatives of banking, insurance and securities supervisors.
The ESRC would pool and analyse all information relevant for financial stability, it suggested.
"A proper flow of information between the ESRC and the micro-prudential supervisors must be ensured," the report said.