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EU bank reform must reflect French, German regulations: French finmin

France's Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici leaves after an interview with Reuters at Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, January 30, 2014. REUT
France's Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici leaves after an interview with Reuters at Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, January 30, 2014. REUT

PARIS (Reuters) - France wants to make sure that EU banking reform proposals reflect regulations already in place in France and Germany, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Thursday, voicing concerns that the current plans favor banks in London.

The European Commission unveiled a blueprint to rein in high-risk trading at big banks on Wednesday, despite concerns in Paris and Berlin that it would threaten their biggest lenders.

"I will be very vigilant about the choices that are made in the European text so that it does not call the French reform into question," Moscovici told Reuters in an interview. "This is something we are keeping an eye on with Germany."

The Commission's proposals go as far as banning the biggest banks from making speculative bets on stocks, bonds and commodities for their own profit, whereas France and Germany want such trading ring-fenced at big lenders.

France and Berlin have been keen for the Commission's proposals to reflect this given that they have recently carried out their own banking reforms.

"It's important that the Commission has a neutral position and avoids giving one model preference over another or calling into question ambitious reforms that two big countries, France and Germany, have already put into place," he said.

The French banking industry has voiced concerns that the Commission's proposals gave an advantage to banks in London in some corporate financing activities.

"Britain finds itself in a relatively favorable position in this proposal," Moscovici said.

The head of the French central bank, Christian Noyer, slammed the Commission's proposal hours after it was presented on Wednesday, describing it as "irresponsible and contrary to the interests of the European economy."

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas, Jean-Baptiste Vey and Yann Le Guernigou; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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