Thousands of people across Europe took to the streets last week in violent protests against government austerity measures. 

They say those decisions have deepened poverty and unemployment.

I think Europe is buying time through the [European] Central Bank's actions. But if that time isn't used wisely for doing the right set of reforms, in a couple of years Europe will look as bad as it does today. Governments need to step up and do the right things that will enhance growth in the long run. Europe has a growth problem, has an aging problem, has a demographic problem, it doesn't have a liquidity problem.

Axel Weber, chairman of UBS and former president of the Deutsche Bundesbank

While citizens of the eurozone still suffer the most as a result of the debt crisis, governments and central banks are also struggling to find a common path to get out of it. 

At the core of the debate is Germany. Some blame the country for imposing its painful austerity policies on the rest of Europe.

But how did the crisis spiral out of control? And are regulators taking the right steps to resolve it?

As the crisis took hold in 2008, economist and academic Axel Weber was right in the thick of it, being then at the helm of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the German central bank - a post he held from 2004 until 2011.

One of its most respected governors, Weber mounted a charge against political interference and openly challenged the European Central Bank's handling of the economic crisis - something he continues to do. 

Weber gave up the possibility of running the European Central Bank, choosing instead to take on the challenge of trying to turn around the scandal-ridden Swiss investment bank UBS as its chairman.

UBS lost $40bn during the sub-prime mortgage crisis and has since faced numerous challenges. Most of UBS's problems date back to and before the financial crisis.

From capitalism's darkest days to the age of European austerity to the high-profile, high-risk world of investment banking - Axel Weber talks to Al Jazeera.

 

 

 

Source: Al Jazeera