BRUSSELS (MNI) – Credit ratings agencies are expected to act
responsibly, taking all information in to account, the European
Commission said on Wednesday in an apparent criticism of the power that
ratings agencies wield over the financial markets.

“We would expect all credit ratings agencies to be responsible and
to carry out their ratings in a…responsible way,” a spokeswoman for
Internal Markets Commissioner Chantal Hughes said.

On Tuesday, ratings agency Standard & Poors downgraded both Greek
and Portuguese government debt ratings, sparking a market selloff of
those assets. Many European policymakers have been critical of the clout
wielded by credit ratings agencies and have stressed the need to
regulate them.

European Commission spokeswoman, Chantal Hughes told reporters that
it wasn’t the Commission’s job to say whether a rating change was fair
or not.

“What we can say is that we have full trust in Greece,” she said,
and that ratings agencies should ensure “they take due account of the
fundamentals of the Greek economy, and the support packages that have
been announced.”

“We would expect the credit ratings agencies to be rigorous in the
way that they approach their ratings, especially at this difficult
time,” Hughes said.

She said the Commission was already taking action on regulation of
the credit ratings agencies, to address conflicts of interest, the
quality of ratings and to try and guarantee transparency in the way the
agencies operate.

Until those new regulations come in to force, she said, we are
“expecting that all financial players act in a responsible way, and that
applies across the board.”

–Brussels: 0032 487 (0) 32 803 665,

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