Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Voting By Your Weight

Karl Otto Pöhl - former President of the Bundesbank - is quoted in German economic weekly Wirtschaftswoche, making an interesting observation. According to Pöhl, bigger eurozone countries (and most importantly the biggest of them all) should be given greater voting weight within the governing board of the European Central Bank.

He argues:
"It can't be the case that central banks from Malta or Cyprus have as much as a say as the Bundesbank [...] The 'one country, one vote' principle is no longer timely".
Sie sind recht, Herr Pöhl. This makes sense, especially from Germany's point of view. But then why not apply the same reasoning to the UK and the new EU financial authorities, the creation of which MEPs endorsed today in Strasbourg?

Within these supervisors, most decisions will be taken under a 'one country, one vote' arrangement, regardless of the actual size of member states' fianancial markets. As we've pointed out here and here, the UK controls 36% of the EU's wholesale finance market - but will have exactly the same voting weight within the supervisors as all other member states, such as Cyprus or Malta.

Quite irrespective of the merits or the drawbacks of the proposal, that is.

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