July 6, 2011 / 3:37 PM / 6 years ago

Ratings agencies must respect the rules - EU's Barnier

BRUSSELS, July 6 (Reuters) - Credit ratings agencies must be extremely careful to adhere to European Union rules, the European commissioner in charge of financial regulation said on Wednesday, issuing a further warning to the ratings companies.

Michel Barnier said the ratings agencies had made "profound mistakes" in the past and had the tendency to follow market thinking rather than independently diagnosing problems.

"I invite the agencies, which are under the control of national supervisors, to be extremely careful to fully respect EU rules," he said in a statement.

"They should learn the lessons from the past."

The European supervisor for markets, ESMA, now has the power to revoke the licence of rating agencies that break EU rules.

Barnier said the EU could explore the possibility of suspending the rating of countries that are currently receiving bailout funds from the EU and IMF, namely Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

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