British PM to meet Merkel, Sarkozy over economic fears
Gordon Brown said Wednesday he had invited his German and French counterparts to London to discuss curbing turbulence in world financial marketsLONDON, December 19, 2007 - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said
Wednesday he had invited his German and French counterparts to London to
discuss curbing turbulence in world financial markets.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy are expected here
"over the next few weeks" for talks on how international institutions can best
cope with what is expected to be an economically trying year ahead, he said.
After Brown announced the talks at his monthly news conference, his office
told AFP the meeting was likely to take place "in the first couple of weeks in
January", but no firm date had been fixed.
On the agenda would be looking at how global financial systems could be
improved to set up an "early warning" of pending crises, like the squeeze on
the credit markets following the US sub-prime mortgage sector, Brown said.
Such a system "could allow supervisors across continents to share
information and seek advice from each other in a better way for the future",
he told reporters.
Brown's news conference was dominated by questions about British bank
Northern Rock, which was forced to apply to the central Bank of England for
emergency funds in September because of the credit crunch.
The troubled mortgage lender has been kept afloat with the help of billions
of pounds (euros, dollars) in British taxpayers money, amid growing concern
about whether the cash will be repaid in full.
Brown, flanked by his finance minister Alistair Darling, dismissed
suggestions that other British banks could go the same way in the coming year,
blaming Northern Rock's "fundamentally unsound" business model for the problem.
The British economy was sound enough to cope with the current financial
turbulence, both said.
The prime minister also dismissed suggestions that Bank of England governor
Mervyn King was at odds with Darling over how best to handle the Northern Rock
affair but said nothing about whether King would be handed a second term.
"The process of appointment for the governor is the usual process and an
announcement will be made in due course," he added.