Merkel, Sarkozy call for regulation of markets

11th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

MESEBERG, Germany, Sept 10, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a joint call here on Monday for greater regulation of international financial markets.

MESEBERG, Germany, Sept 10, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a joint call here on Monday for greater regulation of international financial markets.

"We cannot allow a few speculators to bring down the whole international system, borrowing under any conditions they like and buying at any price they want and without knowing who is lending," Sarkozy said at a press conference after talks with Merkel at a castle outside Berlin.

"We are in favour of transparency and regulation (of financial markets) and for a capitalism that benefits businessmen and not speculators," he said.

Merkel said: "I spoke about more transparency on the financial markets, which is a concern the German government has had for months... and it has always been supported by France.

"Given the current finance situation, it has gained in relevance."

A joint statement issued after the meeting underlined the point, saying: "The transparency of financial markets, their regulation and their supervision are essential elements if we want to avoid excessive corrections," in a reference to interest rate rises.

The comments from the French and German leaders came after several weeks of turbulence on international money markets prompted by heavy losses in the highly risky US subprime loan sector.

Merkel is likely to make a similar call when she meets US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in Berlin on Tuesday.

The subprime crisis prompted the European Central Bank, the Fed and the Japanese central bank to pump in tens of billions of euros (dollars) to keep the markets functioning.

In the latest of the regular meetings of the two countries who consider themselves the "engine room" of the European Union, Sarkozy put pressure on Germany to follow France's example of relying strongly on nuclear power for its energy needs.

"I would like France and Germany to have similar ambitions," Sarkozy said.

"Nuclear energy is the energy of the future," the president said, adding that he wanted to raise the profile of the issue of future energy policy within the European Union.

"We cannot stay as we are in Europe when we are confronted with a situation in which the gas will run out or, in 30 or 40 years, there won't be any more oil," Sarkozy added.

France obtains about 40 percent of its energy needs from nuclear power, whereas Germany, under the former coalition government of Social Democrats and Greens, approved plans to phase out nuclear energy gradually and close the last of its 17 reactors by about 2020.

There have been strong calls from members of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats for a rethink of the pledge to abandon nuclear power.

Merkel also said she supported Sarkozy's call for the creation of a pan-European "committee of wise men" to consider the future of the European Union.

Sarkozy said in August that France would drop its opposition to EU membership talks with Turkey if such a committee were created.

Turning to foreign policy, Merkel and Sarkozy said France and Germany were prepared to jointly carry out training of Afghan soldiers and civil servants.

"We want to work with our German friends to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, to help train civil servants and to bring a little peace and security to a country which really needs it," Sarkozy said.

Germany is currently focused on training the Afghan police force, while just 186 members of Germany's 3,000 contingent are training Afghan soldiers, according to figures cited in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily last month.

About 50 French military instructors are training the Afghan army but the figure is expected to reach 200 by the end of the year.

AFP

Subject: French news

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