Invest Europe‘s new chairman believes the private equity industry can advance its interests in Europe, despite a shift in the composition of the European parliament.
Mid Europa Partners founder Thierry Baudon, who took on the role with the industry association on 19 June, said that while the parliament is less predictable in its views towards private equity, increased representation of the right-wing Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group and the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance need not pose a problem for the industry.
“I’m reasonably happy to see the Greens are now in a position to be pragmatic,” he told Private Equity International. “When you’re big and you represent a significant proportion of the EU parliament, you need to be pragmatic and responsible. Yes, they will apply some pressure to push regulations that would support their beliefs. If they do it in a sensible way, it is a win win.”
The Greens/Europe Free Alliance group boosted its number of seats to 75 from 52 in May’s elections. Policy proposals of member parties such as The Green Party of England and Wales include banning banks from making private equity transactions, either directly or through subsidiaries or affiliates, and ensuring the shadow banking sector is subject to the same regulations as banks.
The new composition of the parliament and the growing influence of the private equity industry make it vital for groups such as Invest Europe to make a case for the industry as a positive social and environmental force, Baudon said.
“We own tens of thousands of companies in Europe, the private market is growing at a multiple of the public market and we are increasingly visible,” he said. “The rise of populism, income inequality and the role of the business world in society is increasingly under scrutiny and we are part of that.”
Brexit remains a key priority, he added, particularly the risk of a poorly-managed split cutting off the flow of capital between Europe and the UK.
Baudon established Mid Europa Partners in 1998, serving as managing partner until 2016 and executive chairman until the end of last year. He replaces Nenad Marova, founder and chief executive of DN Capital.