EU must sue UK government, says bank bonus cap MEP

A key MEP behind the European Union’s bankers bonus cap legislation has called on the European Commission to take the UK to court for “blatantly” sidestepping new rules limiting bonuses.

Philippe Lamberts, the Belgian Green MEP who was one of the architects of the EU law said it was clear the UK was failing to implement the new rules and said that the British government had no interest in preventing banks handing out “absurd remuneration packages.”

His remarks follow a series of announcements from many banks that top executives’ pay and allowances are to be increased.

Lamberts said: “What we are witnessing now is an attempt by the major banks, with the support of the British government, to circumvent the rules and that is to compensate what we did on terms of structure, by just raising the fixed rate of remuneration.”

Michel Barnier, the European commissioner for the single market, should take legal action against the UK, Lamberts said. “I will see Barnier soon and I will encourage him to do that. I know that the commission has already asked for specific information from the British government. So I will certainly take a hard look at that.”

Lamberts also lashed out at George Osborne who is challenging the bonus cap in court, arguing that it will push up the rate of fixed pay.

“People like David Cameron and George Osborne are part of the same club,” Lamberts added.  “These are people who are really out of touch with reality. They are part of the same class, so I think it is natural for them to defend their interests.”

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