EU watchdog should not have power to ban short-selling-adviser

LONDON, Sept 12 Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:16am EDT

LONDON, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The power of the European Union's Paris-based market watchdog to ban short-selling in any member state should be annulled, an adviser to the EU's top court said in an opinion that will please Britain which brought the case.

Britain had argued that such a power, part of a new EU law introduced last year, went beyond what the watchdog could do under the EU treaty.

It is one of several attempts by the UK to push back on increasing centralisation of regulation at EU level at the expense of London, the bloc's biggest financial centre.

"The emergency powers granted by that article to the European Securities and Markets Authority to intervene in the financial markets of member states so as to regulate or prohibit short selling go beyond what could be legitimately adopted as a harmonising measure necessary for the establishment or functioning of the internal market," Advocate General Jaaskinen said in a statement.

The article in the EU's short-selling law granting ESMA such power should be annulled, Jaaskinen said.

Such non-binding opinions from advocate generals at the European Court of Justice are typically endorsed by the full court in a majority of cases.

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