Our work on the Financial Services Action Plan is out.
Its on the top half of P4 of the FT (here and here).
Richard North doesn't like it (surprise surprise).
A measure of how much the EU cares about the City? Take the MiFID directive - just one of 42 meaures intended to create "a single market in financial services". It's going to cost the UK about £6 billion or so by 2010.
The original idea sounded good - let banks compete more with stock exchanges. Problem: various member states didn't want their tiny bourses to get eaten up by gigantic (London based) banks. So they start presssing for loads and loads of onerous pre-trade trasparency rules to stop all but the most enormous banks getting involved.
Gordon Brown has to take the afternoon off for the birth of his son (fair play considering circumstances). Paul Boateng turns up, asks for a delay. Instead the Italians force an (unprecendented) snap vote to add in the red tape. Then to add insult to injury they pass the final directive by rubber stamping it in the fisheries council.
No wonder people in the City are being driven nuts by all this stuff.