By John O’Donnell
BRUSSELS, March 17 (Reuters) – The European Commission plans to propose controls on certain government debt derivatives as soon as June in an effort to crack down on speculation blamed for aggravating Greece’s borrowing problems.
Curbing speculation by hedge funds in credit default swaps, a form of debt insurance, is high on the EU’s political agenda as finance ministers consider a possible bailout of Greece, the euro zone’s most troubled economy.
On Wednesday, Michel Barnier, the European commissioner in charge of financial market regulation, said he would propose rules to control naked selling of credit default swaps — the sale of the insurance contracts to buyers who do not own the debt — as soon as June.
Speaking to members of the European Parliament who will vote the proposals into law, former French foreign minister Barnier said he would be proposing laws on naked selling and credit default swaps.
France and Germany in particular have criticised naked selling of CDS, while the United States and Britain are among countries that oppose an outright ban on the trade although they favour regulation of derivatives’ markets generally.