Tuesday

30th May 2017

EU finance chiefs slam footballer's call to empty bank accounts

Europe's top economy chiefs have criticised the call by former footballer Eric Cantona for citizens to empty their bank accounts on Tuesday (7 December) as a sign of protest against the financial institutions.

Speaking after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday evening, the group's chairman, Luxembourgish Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, slammed the initiative as reckless.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Eric Cantona in 1989. Today he's showing the finger to the banks (Photo: r9M)

"I have various feelings towards the financial sector, but I find the operation you are referring to totally irresponsible," Mr Juncker said in response to a journalist's question.

"Even if he has good reasons to start up an initiative, [he] should not mislead simple people who do not have the finances he has," added the eurogroup chief whose currency club has looked in danger of breaking apart in recent months.

Despite criticism from some quarters, the former football star's call two months ago for a bloodless "revolution" against banks has been echoed by numerous voices across Europe, with French Green MEP Pascal Canfin on Monday setting up a site entitled 'I change my bank.'

The website [www.jechangedebanque.org] explains how to change a bank account and provides a list of banks considered to be "ethical and responsible."

Mr Canfin, a member of the European Parliament's important economic affairs committee, was the recent author of a report on short-selling and the use of credit default swaps.

But the euro deputy's bank website also appeared to meet with Mr Juncker's disapproval. "Since the initiative seems to have been taken up by an MEP, I would recommend to all the footballers of the world to change their deputy," he joked.

EU economy commissioner Olli Rehn, an avid football fan and former club player, was also critical of Mr Cantona's appeal.

"I think that Mr Cantona is really a better footballer than an economist," he told the news conference.

Whether French citizens and those in other countries will respond to Mr Cantona's call will become clearer later on Tuesday. Currently an actor, the former Manchester United star first made his appeal for depositors to withdraw their funds in an interview with the newspaper Presse Ocean in Nantes in October.

Strikes and demonstrations against an overhaul of France's pension system by the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy where in full flow at the time.

"Demonstrating in the street, what does that do?" Mr Cantona asked in the interview. "What's the system? The system revolves around the banks, so it can be destroyed via the banks."

"The three million people on the streets with their placards, they go to the bank, they take out their money, and the banks collapse," he added. "That would be a real revolution. The system would collapse, no weapons, no blood, nothing."

The star's idea quickly went viral on the internet, with numerous social media campaigns expanding on his call.

Banks themselves have been deeply unamused by the development however, while many analysts were also sceptical.

"Does he really understand what the only alternative to capitalism actually is, I wonder?" Howard Wheeldon, a senior strategist at BGC Partners, a London brokerage firm, told the New York Times.

"Clearly he needs serious help - at the very least to understand that to get through this crisis a strong and healthy banking sector is an absolute priority."

Mr Cantona's call for a 'revolution' against the banks has sent shivers down the eurozone leaders' spines.

Spain's football clubs cause stir in Germany

In a sign of how much EU states influence one another’s affairs in the current eurozone crisis, Spain pulled back from allowing debt relief to its football clubs in reaction to German disapproval.

Opinion

Red Card

Europe's top economy chief Jean-Claude Juncker has criticised the call by former footballer Eric Cantona for citizens to empty their bank accounts as a sign of protest against the financial institutions.

Read the story: EU finance chiefs slam footballer's call to empty bank accounts. Learn more about cartoonist Jaka Bevk.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhat's Going on in Catalonia? Join the Debate on 8 June
  2. Swedish EnterprisesDo We Need a More Social Europe? A Lively Debate Awaits You on 7 June
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersDiscover the Role of Feminism in the Peripheries of Europe on 9 June
  4. Malta EU 2017EU Group Launched to Focus on Priorities and Policies Concerning Children
  5. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  8. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  9. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  10. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  12. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade

Latest News

  1. Nouvelles suspicions sur le groupe de Le Pen au Parlement européen
  2. EU sets out demands on post-Brexit people's rights
  3. IT security system risks EU fundamental rights
  4. Macron and Putin hold uneasy first talks
  5. From Greece to Scotland, we stand by Europe
  6. Juncker keen to build EU 'bridge' to Trump
  7. Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform
  8. Club de combat: des espions russes recherchent des recrues européennes