As most of Europe’s leaders were taking every opportunity to stress that they would do whatever it takes to stabilise their own respective banking systems, what the markets wanted to hear was a unified effort.
At a joint German/Italian press conference in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for coherent action in the face of the financial crisis, while Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi went further.
The Italian leader reiterated his call for all 27 EU countries to set up a bank protection system, “an umbrella or common fund”, which he claimed was the best option but difficult to organise.
But Merkel, later renewed her own opposition to such a plan stressing that closer cooperation between members of the European Union was what was needed.
In fact confusion over her own perceived pledge to guarantee all savers’ deposits, which turned out only to be “a political commitment” that savers would not lose money, just seemed to add to the turmoil.
With Denmark and Sweden swiftly increasing their own protection packages for savers, the UK is coming under increasing pressure to do the same.
And after meeting with the heads of Spain’s major banks, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has also agreed to increase bank deposit guarantees.
The talk may be of unity but the unilateral actions speak for themselves.