[QODLink]
Europe
Sarkozy backs financial regulation
French leader blames unrestrained markets for financal crisis at Swiss economic forum.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2010 12:50 GMT
The forum is to be attended by 2,500 top politicians, captain of industries and civil society leaders [AFP]

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has criticised unrestrained free-market capitalism and "indecent" pay for finance executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Sarkozy, giving the keynote address on Wednesday, backed Barack Obama, the US president, in his plans to clampdown on banks and described how free-market capitalism caused the financial crisis of the past two years.

"From the moment we accepted the idea that the market was always right and that no other opposing factors need to be taken into account, globalisation skidded out of control," he said.

Without state intervention to support the financial system there would have been "total collapse.

"Obama is right when he says that banks must be dissuaded from engaging in proprietary speculation or financing speculative funds," Sarkozy said.

Economic recovery

The French leader's speech contrasted with much of the tone on the opening
day of the five-day conference, where business leaders warned that a flood of new regulations risked jeopardising a global economic recovery.

In depth

 Blog: Happy birthday Davos
 Davos diary: Thinking big at WEF
 Twitter: Latest updates

"Let's get good regulation, better regulation, but not more regulation,'' Peter Levene, chairman of the British bank, Lloyds, said.

Josef Ackermann, the chairman of Deutsche Bank, said "we will all be losers'' if governments regulate markets too fervently.

Sarkozy called for better economic governance, worker protection, public debt reduction and rules against tax evasion.

He said excessive profits would no longer be tolerated when they have no relationship to the creation of wealth and jobs, and praised Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, for proposing a tax on them.

Taxing the "exorbitant profits of finance to combat poverty" would "contribute to putting us on the path of a moralisation of financial capitalism," Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy speech came just hours before Barack Obama, the US president, first State of the Union address, where he is expected to address reforming Wall Street.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.