Sunday

29th Mar 2020

Capitalism must be regulated, says Sarkozy

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, on Tuesday (23 September) called for an international summit to tackle the global finance crisis and its consequences, saying that capitalism should be more "regulated" and less "opaque."

"Let us build a capitalism where ratings agencies will be subject to controls and punished when necessary, where transparency of transactions will replace opaqueness. The opaqueness is such today that we have difficulty understanding even what is happening," Mr Sarkozy said in a speech to the UN General Assembly, Reuters reports.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"I am told 'We don't know who is responsible.' Oh yeah? Well let me tell you that when things were going well, we knew who got bonuses. What a strange system," he also told journalists, denouncing "a crazy system which has been our system for years."

Mr Sarkozy hopes to see an international meeting to discuss the crisis, the worst the world has seen, he said, since the Great Depression.

"I'm convinced that it's the duty of heads of state and government of the countries most directly concerned to meet before the end of the year to examine together the lessons of the most serious financial crisis the world has experienced since that of the 1930s," Mr Sarkozy said before the UN General Assembly, in his first public statements on the financial crisis.

At a press conference later in the day, he said he was thinking of a G8-format summit in November, gathering the world's eight leading economic powers – namely the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia, but also open to "emerging countries," such as China, India, and Brazil.

Mr Sarkozy did not specify where the summit should take place, saying that it could be anywhere from Washington or New York, to London, Brussels and Paris.

More regulation

Additionally, the French president suggested a general overhaul of the financial system should be considered, where capitalism would be more "regulated."

"Let us rebuild together a regulated capitalism in which whole swathes of financial activity are not left to the sole judgment of market operators, in which banks do their job, which is to finance economic development rather than engage in speculation," he was reported as saying by Deutsche Welle.

His comments come just a day after MEPs also called on the European Commission to come up with legislation plans to regulate the activities of hedge funds and private equity funds.

However, EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy told MEPs he did not believe it was "necessary at this stage to tar hedge funds and private equity with the same brush as we use for the regulated sector. The issues relating to the current turmoil are different."

One should "analyse the impact of the existing EU provisions and of additional member states' rules in this field before one embarks on introducing any new legislation," said the commissioner.

EU-Russia economic space

Separately, the EU president-in-office also suggested establishing "a common economic space that would unite Russia and Europe."

"What Europe is telling Russia is that we want links with Russia, that we want to build a shared future with Russia, we want to be Russia's partner," Mr Sarkozy said.

According to him, the initiative for a common economic space would go "beyond the strategic partnership as thought of until now," but would not aim to establish "a common market" either.

However, the French president also referred to Russia's war with Georgia this summer and underlined that the EU "cannot compromise on the principal of sovereignty and independence of states."

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

EU leaders arriving at the Brussels summit criticised the budget proposal of EU Council president Charles Michel, as richer member states insisted holding onto their rebates, while poorer countries wanted to avoid deep cuts to their subsidies.

News in Brief

  1. UK health minister tests positive for coronavirus
  2. Orban: coronavirus exposes EU 'weaknesses'
  3. Court orders Netherlands to pay colonial victims
  4. Belgian cat 'infected by coronavirus'
  5. UK PM Johnson tests positive for coronavirus
  6. EU agrees Libya naval mission after Greek solution
  7. US to upgrade its nuclear bombs in Europe
  8. US surpasses China and Italy with 82,404 corona cases

Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote

A trade deal with Vietnam sailed through the European Parliament's international trade committee and after its embassy sent MEPs bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne over Christmas.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. EU doctors: bring refugees on Greek islands to safety
  2. Russia's top coronavirus 'fake news' stories
  3. WHO warning on lockdown mental health
  4. Virus: Frontex tells officers to keep guarding Greek borders
  5. EU heads struggle to find joint virus response
  6. Poland's sham presidential election in a pandemic
  7. Von der Leyen warns 'end selfishness' in virus crisis
  8. Chinese ambassador to EU: put trust before politics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us