EU leaders have agreed to press for a global crackdown on tax havens and the imposition of strict rules on hedge funds.
Coordinated action is needed, they said, to stop the global downturn deepening and to prevent future financial meltdowns. German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who hosted the one-day summit in Berlin – set the tone with a stark warning. “We have to develop a mechanism of sanctions against those who are not cooperating whether it be tax havens or areas where non transparent deals are made,” she said. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he wanted to see a “global new deal” and said the leaders had agreed the International Monetary Fund needed access to more money. “We decided that the international institutions should have at least 400 billion euros to enable them, not just to deal with the crisis, but to prevent crisis,” he told reporters. Prior to the summit Gordon Brown had called for a united stance. A message reiterated afterwards by Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. “We will together be successfull. We will get out of this crisis and end up with a new financial system which is sound, transparent and ethical.” As the EU leaders now ready themselves for the full G20 summit in London on April 2, there was at least one dissenting voice. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek expressed concern at what he saw as “big” divisions between Europe’s major economies.