Selection process for new European Banking Authority chief branded ‘a joke’

Senior German MEP Sven Giegold says that MEPs will only be able to choose from a “one-man” shortlist which also lacks gender balance.
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By Martin Banks

01 Jul 2020

MEPs on Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs met on Monday for a discussion with François-Louis Michaud, who has been nominated as Executive Director of the European Banking Authority (EBA).

Michaud is currently Deputy Director General at the European Central Bank working in the directorate general responsible for the supervision of the largest European banks.

The Committee is due to vote on the new EBA appointment on Thursday.

If approved, Michaud would be clear to take over as head of the EBA, a regulatory agency of the EU headquartered in Paris. Its activities include conducting stress tests on European banks with the aim of increasing transparency in the European financial system.

“A list with only one person is a joke and not a list. With this renewed male-only nomination, male dominance in high-level EU financial positions would continue unabated. Gender equality would remain a pious hope” Sven Giegold MEP

The previous candidate, Gerry Cross, was rejected in January by the European Parliament due to what was said to be his extensive lobby activities in the past.

The new nominee, Michaud, could now find himself embroiled in a fresh furore, this time over a perceived lack of gender balance in the nomination process.

Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group, says Parliament, in the recent past, has demanded a “gender balanced” shortlist of at least two candidates for all top EU finance positions, including the EBA.

He says the EBA has now, potentially, put itself at odds with MEPs for not also nominating a female candidate for the authority’s most senior post.

He said, “The EBA board of supervisors has once again set itself on a collision course with the European Parliament with the proposal for its executive director.”

“With the nomination of only one male candidate, EBA is going against the Parliament's requirement to nominate at least one woman and one man. In order not to undermine its own credibility, the ECON Committee should reject the nominated candidate on formal grounds and insist on a gender balanced short list.”

He added, “A list with only one person is a joke and not a list. With this renewed male-only nomination, male dominance in high-level EU financial positions would continue unabated. Gender equality would remain a pious hope.”

“While we do not comment on the proposed candidate, let me clarify that the request to put forward a shortlist of two candidates is against the current regulation” European Banking Authority spokesman

The EBA, however, points out that, according to its founding regulation, just one candidate needs to be put forward to the Parliament.

An EBA spokesman told this website, “While we do not comment on the proposed candidate, let me clarify that the request to put forward a shortlist of two candidates is against the current regulation.”

He continued, “Indeed, the legal requirement is that the European Parliament approves our candidate, while sharing the shortlist with ECON is an informal process which is not provided for in relation to the ED [Executive Director] in the EBA Regulation.”

No one from the European commission was available for comment.

Michaud joined the ECB in March 2014 and was previously Deputy Director for Banking Supervision at the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution in France.

From 2005 to 2009, he worked at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, as a senior economist and has had various responsibilities at the Banque de France in banking supervision and financial stability. He was seconded to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2004-2005.

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