Charlie McCreevy, the EU Commissioner for Internal Markets, said today that the current financial crisis had been unfolding for the past 14 or 15 months.

The Commissioner said the crisis is a cause for concern for everyone and will undoubtedly have an impact on the non-financial sector. He warned that it will affect growth and impact public finances.

In the absence of a single supervisory authority in the EU, decisions on any interventions in the banking sector will have to be made by states themselves, rather than at the EU level, Commission McCreevy said.

Despite his persistent attempts to get such a regulatory body established, the lack of an adequate advisory structure means it is difficult to get agreement among member states.

'I have been preaching this particular gospel for some time' and limited progress has been made,' he said.

Speaking in Dublin, Commissioner McCreevy would not comment on what measures the Government should be considering at the moment, other than to say he is sure that the appropriate measures will be taken given the new economic and budgetary situation.

Meanwhile, the European Trade Union Confederation has said the world financial crisis must be a 'turning point' and cause a complete change in the way the financial world works. It has called for much tighter control of financial institutions' ability to leverage their operations and the establishment of a European Ratings Agency as part of a European regulatory drive..