January 23, 2020 / 12:09 PM / 25 days ago

EU lawmaker panel rejects candidate for banking watchdog job

LONDON (Reuters) - European Union lawmakers recommended on Thursday that Gerry Cross, a senior Central Bank of Ireland regulator, is not appointed executive director of the bloc’s banking watchdog.

The European Parliament’s economic affairs committee voted on Thursday by 27 to 24 that Cross’ candidacy should be rejected, a committee spokesman said.

It will be up to full parliament, either later this month or in February, to vote on the panel’s recommendation, the spokesman said.

A rejection by full parliament would likely force the European Banking Authority to come up with another candidate.

Lawmakers were angered that Adam Farkas resigned from his job as executive director of EBA to head a banking lobby group, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

Lawmakers criticised what they saw as overly lenient departure terms imposed by EBA on Farkas, prompting Cross on Wednesday to offer a two-year cooling-off period if he were to leave the watchdog for the private sector.

The EU ombudsman has opened an investigation into how EBA handled Farkas’ departure to head AFME from next month. Cross worked for AFME before he joined the Irish central bank.

The Central Bank of Ireland had no comment on Thursday’s vote. EBA said it acknowledged the outcome of the vote.

“This decision will have to be ratified by the Plenary of the European Parliament and we will need to wait until the final vote before deciding on the next steps,” an EBA spokeswoman said.

Committee members have also said they want more women appointed to EU regulatory bodies. Last year, EBA appointed former Santander banker Jose Manuel Campa as its new chair.

Additional reporting by Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Iain Withers and Bernadette Baum

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