French banks may get public funds 'as last resort': minister
French banks might need public funds to build up their capital as a "last resort" to protect them from the risk of eurozone sovereign debt default, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday.
Answering questions in parliament, Juppe said banks would build up their capital base "through mobilising their own revenue, private capital and, if it necessary, and as a last resort, public capital."
French banks are regarded as overexposed to risky sovereign debt from Greece, Italy and Spain, but the President Nicolas Sarkozy has insisted his government will not allow them to fail.
France is pushing Germany to allow the European Financial Stability Facility, the eurozone's new bailout fund, to help recapitalise at risk lenders, but Berlin wants the private sector to do more.
European leaders have vowed to draw up a plan to protect the banks before the EU summit on October 23, which comes after this weekend's meeting of the G20 finance ministers, where they are likely to come under pressure to act.
© 2011 AFP