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John Bruton calls for more accountability in Europe

FORMER Taoiseach John Bruton has called for more accountability in Europe, and for companies to make staff "examine their conscience" before they make financial decisions.

Speaking at an Insurance conference in Dublin, Mr Bruton said the lack of accountability in Europe was damaging the EU.

"If the French people don't like what the government does, they can vote it out, the same goes for Ireland and every other European country. Not so in the EU and there has to be  sense of fairness and accountability if Europe is to regain its popularity.

"To that end the president of the European Council should be elected by direct elections and not just by the 27 member governments. It would give the people much greater ownership and a direct say in the EU which is very important," he claimed.

Mr Bruton who now acts as an ambassador and lobbyist for the IFSC, went on to call for a more sustainable financial model, and one which had less regulation.

"We need to reign in regulation. It's not substitute for ethics, morality or trust. It may help them but can never replace them and yet that is precisely what legislators seem to be doing. We  cannot go on diverting resources, cannot afford to go on diverting the talent we use, into compliance requirements that are ever more complicated because people don't think ethically.

"People ask themselves if a deal or selling a product is legal, is it good for their bonus/promotion and so on.

"If you want a genuinely ethical question, it needs to be 'is it right?' Too many corporate system to don't ask the second questions. We need a system for ethics of what one does, and need to have essentially an examination of conscience," he added.

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