Jonathan Hill has dismissed suggestions the UK’s departure from the European Union will bring about a material change in the Capital Markets Union (CMU) and urged his successor to champion the project, a cornerstone of Jean-Claude Juncker’s presidency.
Hill, who resigned as European commissioner for financial stability in the wake of last month’s UK referendum on EU membership, rejected the notion the CMU would shift to focus on introducing a single European financial regulator under the stewardship of Valdis Dombrovskis, commission vice-president responsible for the euro.
“I know some people have been wondering whether my leaving will mean a change of direction for CMU,” he said while addressing the European Parliament on 13 July.
Hill rejected suggestions his departure would see Dombrovskis introduce a single financial regulator, if for no other reason than member states did not currently support such a reform, or that the UK’s departure would see the CMU project become more “ambitious”.
“There is nothing ambitious about driving full-speed into a brick wall of political opposition,” he said.
Hill added said that the reason for introducing the CMU had not changed in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and that, if anything, the case for reform had been strengthened by the country’s eventual departure.
The remarks echo earlier ones, when he said London’s imminent departure from the EU made the CMU’s launch “more urgent”.
Hill concluded his speech, likely his last to Parliament ahead of his resignation taking effect on 15 July, on a realistic note: “Building a Capital Markets Union was never going to be easy. I was never under any illusions about that.
“But today my message to people would be to stick with it, to keep hammering away at the barriers to free movement of capital for the years ahead.”
The Dutch Pensions Federation has lamented Hill’s departure, with its director saying it was likely to be a setback for the pensions industry.
On the day of the UK’s referendum, Hill told the PensionsEurope conference he was aware of the industry’s concerns around central clearing, and that the possibility of a permanent exemption would be examined as part of a review of the second European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR II).
The UK government has nominated Julian King, an experienced diplomat and former chief of staff to Hill’s predecessor Catherine Ashton, as its next commissioner.