Europes insurance and pensions industries should have to pay a levy to help fund a stronger, more interventionist European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, the chair of the regulatory body has said.
Speaking in Brussels on Friday, Gabriel Bernardino said there was a 'clear need' to strengthen EIOPA's operational independence, for it to be more proactive in challenging national supervisors and for it to be given a stronger mandate and powers.
'I believe that the current structure of the European system of financial supervision achieved important results in a very challenging environment... We should build on these achievements and improve the system,' he explained.
'We should focus on substance and not on the theoretical debate about the optimal structure. There is no silver bullet in terms of structures. They all have pros and cons.
'In my view there are three key points where there is a clear need for evolution: to strengthen EIOPA's operational independence, to reinforce our independent challenging role towards national competent authorities and to enhance EIOPA's mandate and powers.'
Consideration should be given to whether a fee should be levied on the industry for 'partial financing' of its increased mandate, Bernardino said. EIOPA should also be given an independent budget within the central budget of the EU, he added.
EIOPA's budget for 2013 totals just over 18m, of which 11m is contributed by member states and the remainder comes from the EU itself.
Bernardino also claimed that 'further flexibility' is needed in the body's budgetary framework to allow it to attract the highly qualified staff needed to implement Solvency II, the new rules governing Europe's insurance industry.
Enabling EIOPA to challenge national regulators should involve extending its powers to conduct an inquiry into a particular type of financial institution, type of product or type of conduct, he said.
'This power should not be confined to situations of potential threats to the stability of the financial system but be used more generally to support the independent challenging role of EIOPA,' he explained.
Enhancing the mandate and power of the body should also involve it being given more supervisory power over the 'largest important cross-border' insurance groups, and to extend its powers to cover personal pensions, he added.