Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says Britain must retain the ability to set its own financial regulations as the European Union moves toward closer integration of euro-area economies.

Carney made the comments Wednesday in Oxford amid Britain's ongoing debate over its continued membership in the EU. Carney stressed that he was not taking sides, and that the decision will be made by U.K. voters.

However, he said U.K. authorities need flexibility to ensure they can regulate Britain's financial industry. The EU is debating common rules to protect against future shocks such as the Greek financial crisis.

Carney says "it is imperative that U.K. authorities, including the Bank of England, continue to retain the flexibility to impose the high standards necessary to manage the world's leading global financial center."