Britain has gone to the European Court of Justice to overturn powers allowing a Paris-based regulator to ban short-selling as part of a campaign of legal challenges to rein in growing EU powers over financial regulation.
The European Securities and Markets Authority, or Esma, was given the unprecedented powers to ban short-selling after Britain lost a battle to stop the move and was outvoted in a council of EU finance ministers last year.
Jemima Stratford QC, the barrister representing the Government in the Luxembourg court challenge, insisted that the power, which is unique among Europe’s regulatory agencies, was an illegal power grab in breach of the EU’s treaties.
“There is a short point at the heart of this case. It is that the extensive discretion given to Esma is contrary to the institutional balance laid down in the treaties,” she told the ECJ.
“This would be a fundam