Germany eyes possible move of EU bank regulator to Frankfurt

The sun sets behind the Saint Nicholas Church in Prague, Czech Republic, February 6, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny - RTX25RFB

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German finance ministry said on Friday it could not rule out launching a bid to move the headquarters of the EU’s European Banking Authority to Germany from London following Britain’s vote last week to leave the European Union.

A ministry spokeswoman denied a report in Germany’s Spiegel magazine which said Germany would refrain from recommending Frankfurt as the new headquarters for the bank.

“There is no talk about forgoing anything,” the spokeswoman said. However, she added that it was still premature to talk about relocating the regulatory authority since Britain had not yet triggered negotiations about exiting the bloc.

At the same time, she said, it was clear that all EU agencies based in London would have to move if Britain quit the EU. Germany was “an excellent site for financial institutions”, she added, given its domestic banking oversight expertise and the fact that is already home to the European Central Bank.

Spiegel cited finance ministry sources as saying Germany was unlikely to prevail in seeking to host the EBA since it was already home to the EU’s insurance oversight agency. Spain is seen to have better chances, it quoted the sources as saying.

Reporting by Gernot Heller; writing by Andrea Shalal; editing by Mark Heinrich