In the wake of the eurozone crisis that has dogged headlines for the last five years, keeping an eye on exactly what banks are up to is certainly the order of the day. And now the Frankfurt-based ECB has announced that it needs to hire another 800 people by July 2014 to be able to carry out its new duties monitoring the continent’s financial institutions.
By now, no-one should be surprised at the capacity of European institutions to ‘need’ thousands of extra staff at a moment’s notice, but the notable thing about this instance is the Bank says this is just a ‘starting point’, and it expects to need even more people further down the line.
Of course a Panopticon is a type of prison - designed by Jeremy Bentham - which allows a guard to watch all prisoners without any of them knowing whether they are being watched. With so many staff in the new ECB function, however, we suspect the banks will know they are being watched.
Interestingly, the figure is almost twice what the ECB’s vice president Vitor Constancio estimated in December. He said it would need 500 new staffers. If the estimate keeps rising at that rate, the ECB’s bank-supervising unit will be the largest employer in Europe before the year is out.