And now for European criminal law

This doesn\’t look good:

Jose Manuel Barroso has said he will this week propose “individual criminal responsibility for financial players to be recognised in European law”.

The plans for an EU-wide directive would focus on curbing high frequency trading.

Two entirely different things here.

1) Are we absolutely certain that we want to have the EU giving us new criminal laws? Note that the way they\’re bringing these in does not require national parliaments to agree:

The revamped directive will be legally-binding, once approved by EU ministers and Euro-MPs.

Call me old fashioned, call me a Little Englander even, but I do rather think that the laws under which I can be sent to jail should be run through the national Parliament. No, directives which are pass as Statutory Instruments, on the basis, \”pass this or leave the EU\”, don\’t count as such in my mind.

2) Are we sure that we want people who display such ignorance about the financial markets making rules or laws about financial markets? There\’s absolutely nothing at all in the current economic woes that has been made worse (or even better) by high frequency trading. We\’ve had mortgge problems, yes, but these are hardly traded. We\’ve got sovereign debt problems now but again, they are hardly traded.

HFT just isn\’t part of what\’s been going on.

Even if you do think that HFT is a problem, it\’s a different one, not one contributing to the current eurozone implosion. Attacking it now is just an excuse for action, you know, the never waste a good crisis?

3 thoughts on “And now for European criminal law”

  1. The actual report, as opposed to a cherry-picked version from a man with a serious agenda (AE-P) is here.

    Baroso actually said “Nous avons vu des comportements abusifs sur les marchés, certains ont provoqué la crise actuelle. Nous allons réguler ces pratiques! Ceux qui les violeront encourront des sanctions pénales.”

    …c’est a dire:

    ‘We have seen abusive market practices, some of which have caused the current crises. We’re going to regulate these practices. People who break the rules will face criminal penalties”.
    Ambrose appears to have made up the bit about high-frequency trading altogether.

    While it’s not clear exactly what’s being proposed, the most likely will be a directive that lays down minimum regulatory standards, which (as for any other directive), EU member states have to accommodate into law.

    As even Ambrose notes, the UK has the most stringent financial regulatory system in Europe, so any such directive will likely be based on what we’ve got.

  2. There is no crisis, however large or small, that will not be used as an excuse to push their tentacles ever-further into our affairs.

    Can we leave yet?

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