Katainen sees tight schedule for EU bank regulation
50th anniversary of Prime Minister’s interview programme
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (Nat. Coalition Party) feels that the schedule for the establishment of a system of bank supervision that would cover the entire European Union is very challenging, if the aim is to get it started already at the beginning of next year.
Katainen says that choosing the people for the system is challenging, as is the requirement that the system should be reliable from the beginning.
"It can be difficult to set it up in a few months", Katainen said on Sunday at the prime minister’s monthly radio interview programme.
Bank supervision is the first step in setting up the EU’s so-called banking union, which is also to include a common deposit protection system.
The European Commission wants to have the supervision system in operation at the beginning of next year. The agreement needs to be approved by all member states, even though it would apply only to banks in countries using the euro currency.
Katainen said that the supervision is aimed at preventing future banking crises and to establish better supervision of cross-border banking activities.
Sunday’s broadcast marked the 50th anniversary of the "Prime Minister’s Interview Hour", a monthly radio programme on the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).
The first interview hour programme was on September 30th, 1962, when Prime Minister Ahti Karjalainen was interviewed by a panel of journalists.
The programme has established itself as an important institution of Finnish radio. The format is always the same – a YLE journalist chairs a panel of political journalists from different sections of the Finnish media, asking the PM questions about current topics.
Attending the special broadcast were three former prime ministers, all of whom were from the Centre Party: Mari Kiviniemi, Matti Vanhanen, and Anneli Jäätteenmäki.
Two Social Democratic former prime ministers, Mauno Koivisto and Paavo Lipponen, did not take part in the broadcast – Koivisto for reasons of health, and Lipponen because he does not want to appear in the Finnish media. Esko Aho (Centre Party) had travelled to Harvard University in the United States.
Mari Kiviniemi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, said that in EU crisis management, the practice seems to be to wait for a single individual solution, and now all hopes have been pinned on the banking union.
Katainen said that he is not yet optimistic that the crisis will fade away soon. However, he said that the means for dealing with the crisis now exist.
The former prime ministers chimed in actively on the themes of the interview programme. Anneli Jäätteenmäki, a member of the European Parliament, called for more openness from the European Central Bank on what type of responsibility it plans to take in dealing with the EU’s economic crisis.
Katainen agreed that openness on the part of the ECB would be important. However, he said repeatedly that it is important for the central bank to be independent of political decision-making.
He also described his relations with Erkki Liikanen, the Governor of the Bank of Finland, who also takes part in meetings of the council which decides on ECB support measures. Katainen said that he and Liikanen meet once a month and talk about "all manner of things".
"I don’t try to pry about what he thinks about the coming ECB meetings", Katainen insisted.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Governor Liikanen: German Central Bank will adhere to joint decisions (13.9.2012)
Rehn wants to extend EU banking supervision to small banks (4.9.2012)