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EU’s Barroso sees rising protectionism - FT

The head of the European Commission has said there are growing signs of protectionism even among political forces traditionally committed to free markets, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

In an interview with the newspaper, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also said he did not support the creation of a single pan-European regulator to respond to financial market turbulence. Asked if protectionist sentiment was growing in the EU, Barroso, said: “Yes, and I fear this rise not only in Europe but all over. Political forces in Europe that were traditionally pro-market are today - let’s put it elegantly - more prudent. Some on the centre-right are now more conservative in that regard.” Barroso said he had told the Chinese to help persuade people that their growth was good for the global economy. “I know very well that some people think of China’s growth as a threat. We want to make it an opportunity,” he said.

Barroso said he did not see the case for a pan-European regulator to respond to market turbulence - as has been advocated by some in France and Italy. “We certainly have no intention at all of having some kind of European super-regulator. But we want increased transparency and more co-operation among regulators,” he said. (Reuters)