France and Germany ganged up on the banks on Monday, and promised they would push for the G 20 to do the same when they meet in Pittsburg next month.
The pair say public disgust at the big bonuses creeping back in despite the deep recession is justified, and that financial institutions appear not to have learnt the lessons of last year. “This opportunity must not be missed, because in several financial centres around the world we are noting – to the surprise of many people – that those banks which have recovered are behaving just like they did in times before the financial crisis, and this must not repeat itself,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. France and Germany will attempt to persuade Europe to adopt their position in Pittsburg, and propose rules similar to new ones they have drawn up. “For Europe to have a communal stance we want to put an end to the bonus scandals. Germany has taken measures, France has as well. We will apply these measures regardless of other countries’ decisions,” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Many see financial market excesses as the root cause of the global economic downturn, and after two decades of deregulation, traders face a tightening of controls.