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Brussels, 22 February 2012

Commissioner Barnier appoints members of a High-level Expert Group on possible reforms to the structure of the EU banking sector

"I thank the members for having joined this Group. They bring an impressive amount of expertise to the table. I know they will do an independent, intellectually solid and practical assessment of the potential merits of structural reform. They will make all the recommendations as regards the structure of EU banks they deem necessary to strengthen financial stability and enable banks to fully play their role in favour of citizens, the Single Market and European growth," said Commissioner Barnier.

Chairman Liikanen said "I look forward to working with the eminent members of the Group. They bring a diverse set of experiences and outlooks, which will enrich our discussions. We have been entrusted with an important task to consider whether there is a need for structural reforms or not and to make any relevant proposals as appropriate, with the objective of establishing a safe, stable and efficient banking system serving the needs of citizens, the EU economy and the internal market. We will start our work immediately."


Commissioner Michel Barnier has today appointed the members of the High-level Expert Group set to examine structural aspects of the EU's banking sector. The decision to set up this Group was announced by Commissioner Michel Barnier at the European Parliament in November last year. In agreement with President Barroso, Commissioner Michel Barnier in January appointed Erkki Liikanen as the chairman. Erkki Liikanen is currently Governor of the Bank of Finland and a former member of the European Commission.

The members have been chosen on the basis of their technical expertise and professional background, and are appointed in a personal capacity. Members represent a wide range of interests, from consumers of banking services, to former providers of such services, regulators, and economists with expertise in banking, financial markets and financial regulation. Commissioner Barnier and Mr Liikanen have strived to find a balance in professional backgrounds, views, experiences as well as geography.

The Group will now start its work and will present its final report to the Commission by the end of summer 2012. It will conduct hearings and organise consultations as appropriate.

Its mandate will be to determine whether, in addition to ongoing regulatory reforms, structural reforms of EU banks would strengthen financial stability and improve efficiency and consumer protection, and if that is the case it will make proposals as appropriate. Structural reforms go beyond regulating and supervising banks' behaviour and instead directly affect the structure of individual banks and the market as a whole. Such reforms could for example include prohibiting banks from carrying out some activities or requiring banks to put certain activities (e.g. taking deposits from retail customers) into separate legal entities.

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