Douglas Carswell

28 FEB 2017

Has Brussels given us a blessing in disguise?

Brussels looks to have blocked the merger between the London Stock Exchange and Germany's stock exchange, Deutsche Boerse. For Britain's sake, that's probably just as well.

The European Commission's demand that the London Stock Exchange divest its stake in MTS, an Italian bond-trading platform, came as a shock. Stock Exchange bosses and shareholders are understandably annoyed.

But, for Britain, it could well be better for the merger not to go ahead – because of the assets that EU institutions could threaten further down the line.

The European Central Bank has been trying to move euro clearing from London to the Eurozone – and the London Clearing House is owned by the London Stock Exchange.

So, for the ECB, a merger would be a boon. A majority of the shares in the new entity would be held by Deutsche Boerse shareholders, who might back moving euro clearing to Frankfurt. Moreover, German and EU regulators would have greater powers of oversight.

Even beyond euro clearing, there's good reason to be concerned about closer financial ties with Frankfurt. The Eurozone is teetering on the brink of financial meltdown. Its authorities are becoming ever more interventionist.

The City may not be able to escape exposure to this unfolding disaster, but there's no reason to court it.

Unintentionally, Brussels may have done us a favour.

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