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Euroland - Federation of Retarded Acceleration

German Socialists (SPD) plan election campaign against excesses in the banking sector

SPD program reproduced in  Bild daily ~ "Banks and the financial sector: A minority harms the majority – and the whole country" [german], 21.07.2012


In short: ARD Tagesschau "SPD plans election campaign against excesses in the banking sector: Gabriel accuses banks of manipulation and blackmail", 21.07.2012
[translation Eulenspargel]

SPD plans election campaign against excesses in the banking sector: Gabriel accuses banks of manipulation and blackmail

Socialist party leader Sigmar Gabriel plans a campaign against the excesses in the banking sector. As reported by the Bild newspaper, in a thesis paper Gabriel demands that "The Federal election 2013 must result in a decision to tame the bank and financial sector".

In eight points in his paper he settled up with the banks: they would "blackmail" countries, "dictate" politics, "pay indecent salaries" and make "risky speculations with the deposits of their customers". And some credit institutions "aid and abet tax evasion". Further, banks would practise "manipulation", e.g. by conning customers into buying 'trash' assets.

Demand for [the creation of] a European insolvency regulation

As counter measure, Gabriel demands [the creation of] a European insolvency regulation under which banks can go bankrupt without entire national economies being pulled down in the process. Additionally he demands the breaking up of the large banks: The ordinary operation of banks must "legally and in the balance sheets be separated from investment banking". The Banking sector must be "downsized to a healthy magnitude". "Smaller banks with a sustainable business model" have to replace the big, uncontrollable banks of today.

Gabriel: bank managers should become liable

Also necessary are a ban on high-speed trading and a better equity capitalization of banks. And according to Gabriel "in connection with finance scandals the liability of responsible bank managers has to encompass their private wealth". In view of the tax evasion towards Switzerland Gabriel demands that it be compulsory for the [german] Chief Federal Prosecutor to carry out criminal prosecution processes against foreign credit institutes and their employees.

Comment Eulenspargel

On the one hand, Sigmar Gabriel has simply expressed the sentiments of (probably the majority of) people in all European countries (and beyond) since 2008.
On the other hand, the Socialists have themselves - at least in Germany - been co-responsible for creating the framework that permitted the investment banking sector to grow to the monster that it is today. Therefore whether anything of such a program would be realized in case the Socialists win at the Federal elections in 2013 is open. For substantial progress along this line, changes at EU and Eurozone level would be necessary.

But a degree of difference does exist between the Socialists and the Liberal-Conservatives, see for example the tax evasion dispute with Switzerland, pp.5-6.

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