EU to shake up retail financial services competition

The EU should open up retail financial services to more competition to bring lower prices for consumers who will also then see how EU membership can produce tangible benefits, the bloc’s new financial chief said yesterday.

Jonathan Hill, European financial services commissioner since the start of this month, pointed to liberalisation of telecoms as an example where EU action has pushed down the price of a cross-border mobile phone call, one of the EU’s most popular policy moves.

EU legislation has also helped low-cost airlines Ryanair and EasyJet to shake-up air travel and bring down fares.

“Can we apply those lessons in the sphere of financial services? And if so, how? Competition gives consumers choice,” Hill said in a speech in Brussels.

He said prising open financial services to more competition would also bring wider political benefits at a time when anti-EU political parties are in the ascendancy.

“The EU’s legitimacy depends on the continued provision of tangible benefits to the public. Retail financial services and consumer policy is, I believe, an area where we can do exactly that,” Mr Hill said, adding, however, that “we have some knotty problems to resolve if we are to succeed in opening up retail markets”.


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