British financial reform has uphill battle

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives for a second day of a European Council summit at the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels -- March 20, 2009

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: European Union leaders wrap up their meeting in Brussels today. They've been trying to put together a new framework for Europe's financial system. But there are two competing plans for the future of banking regulation. Christopher Werth reports.


Christopher Werth: Continental Europe has a blueprint for reforming financial regulation. A high-level group issued some recommendations last month, which includes international oversight of European financial institutions by the European Central Bank. The only problem is British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived in Brussels yesterday with his own plan for overhauling the system.

Andrew Hilton of the Center for the Study of Financial Innovation says the British would like to water down proposals for European control over British banks.

Andrew Hilton: We are to wholesale financial services as the French are, say, to wine, or the Germans are to cars, or the Italians are to olive oil, and we want to keep that business here, and we want it to be regulated here.

The British have an uphill battle. France and Germany have thrown their weight behind a strong pan-European regulatory body, which will provide part of the framework that they'll bring to next month's G-20 summit.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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