EU commissioner Jonathan Hill steps down

In the aftermath of Britons decision to leave the EU, the PM David Cameron announced his resignation, taking effect in October 2016. Lord Hill, a close conservative ally of Mr. Cameron and one of the most senior UK diplomats in Brussels, was offered in 2014 by J.C Juncker to succeed the French commissioner Michel Barnier to supervise financial stability, financial services and capital markets union.

In the wake of the Brexit, many MEPs had already called Hill to surrender and the latter claimed a few hours ago: “I came to Brussels as someone who had campaigned against Britain joining the euro and who was sceptical about Europe. I will leave it certain that, despite its frustrations, our membership was good for our place in the world and good for our economy. But what is done cannot be undone and now we have to get on with making our new relationship with Europe work as well as possible”.

At the same time, investors, who had thought the Remain camp would win, are now dumping UK bank shares and selling pounds. The vote Leave has brought about a time for turbulence and uncertainty in financial markets and the departure of Mr. Hill is clearly portentous.

He also acknowledged that the referendum outcome has been a tipping point and that “like many people here and in the UK, I am obviously very disappointed about the result of the referendum. I wanted it to end differently and had hoped that Britain would want to play a role in arguing for an outward-looking, flexible, competitive, free trade Europe. But the British people have taken a different decision, and that is the way that democracy works.”

Juncker thanks Hill and appoints Valdis Dombrovskis

Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, obviously tried to prevent Hill from stepping down but has not been able to convince Hill to keep working with the EU. Shortly after this definitive decision, he claimed that : “The work of the European Union must go on. After having spoken with Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, I have asked Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, to take over the portfolio for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union.”

Member of the liberal-conservative political party Unity (Vienotība) in Latvia, the current European Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue is still in charge of the Economic and Monetary Union, the convergence of economic, fiscal and labour‑market policies between EU countries and the dialogue with social partners at EU level. From now, he will also be liable for promoting global consistency in regulation and the implementation of agreed standards and principles in cooperation with international partners.

He has been praised by Mr. Juncker who stated that “with his experience, expertise and his good network amongst Members of the European Parliament, Finance Ministers and Prime Ministers, Vice-President Dombrovskis is ideally placed to ensure continuity in the Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union portfolio ».

Uncertainty for London banks is now increasing as financial markets will no longer be overseen by Lord Hill, who was, ironically, responsible for the Financial Stability.

Edouard d’Espalungue

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