16 Nov 2011

EU sets down controls on rating agencies

8:56 am on 16 November 2011

European Union markets commissioner has put forward proposals for new curbs on international credit rating agencies.

Many commentators have blamed the agencies for helping to create the 2008 global financial crisis by failing to properly evaluate the risk of United States mortgage investments.

The proposals suggested by Michel Barnier would enable any EU state or investor to demand damages before a civil court for losses liable to a rating agency.

Banks and other financial institutions would also be urged to do their own credit-rating homework rather than systematically calling on the agencies.

Mr Barnier has had to back down, however, on plans to allow the temporary suspension of ratings for countries that are being bailed out by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

He says he considered that more time was needed to detail the technical measures as they would apply to such countries.

Sources says there was deep disagreement within the 27-strong European Commission executive in the hours before Mr Barnier's delayed news conference.