It has been a weekend of financial negotiations in Europe. Buyers are circling Fortis, the struggling Belgian/Dutch financial group. France’s BNP Paribas and Holland’s ING are said to be among them, but both apparently want government guarantees for up to 40 billion euros of debt. According to media reports, the Belgian government is not prepared to do that and the odds are on nationalisation.
A spokesman for Belgium’s Federation of Financial Associations Marina De Moerlooze said:
“We have to convince everybody to stop dealing with this in a sentimental or emotional way. For the moment, there are no operational problems.”
Across the English Channel, speculation is rife that the British government has decided to nationalise the debt-ridden Bradford and Bingley bank. The opposition Conservatives, at their conference in Birmingham, insist SOMETHING has to be done.
0.50 David Cameron MP, leader of Conservative Party:
“What is required is action in the short term to absolutely make clear that people’s deposit and savings are safe, and we have said that we need that deposit protection scheme in place and we’ve offered the prime minister the chance for legislation and we also need to give the Bank of England those new powers to rescue failing organisations.”
Meanwhile the clock is ticking down to the reopening of the markets tomorrow. The people involved in trying to secure the future of both Fortis and Bradford and Bingley have both said they cannot risk having no solution by then.