Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East, Sharon Bowles, has secured one of the European Parliament's top jobs.
Ms. Bowles was elected by fellow MEPs as Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee in the European Parliament. The committee is responsible for legislation on the financial markets of the EU, the world's largest economy, and overseeing Euro monetary policy. It has been described as 'arguably the Parliament's most powerful body.'
The chair was previously held by a French Socialist.
The committee's responsibilities include the regulation of the financial sector, the free movement of capital and payments, competition rules, tax provisions, and the functioning of the Euro.
It is also responsible for democratic oversight of the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank, whose President Jean-Claude Trichet reports to the committee four times a year.
Sharon Bowles said:
"I will take very seriously my responsibility towards all EU citizens. We have to repair and stabilise the financial markets and supervision, curbing the excesses which have been so clearly exposed in the past year whilst making sure regulation is intelligent, workable and properly enforced.
"We have to recognise that with an ageing population the pressure for returns on investments to fund pensions will inexorably continue, or present major social and budgetary consequences. Therefore we must find a balance that does not destroy attractive investment possibilities for European people".