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French president calls for summit on financial crisis

Latest update : 2008-09-24

Speaking before the UN General Assembly, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the creation of an international institution to regulate the globalised economy, and a "joint economic community" between Europe and Russia.

Watch our Top Story on the United Nations General Assembly.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Tuesday on key world leaders to hold a summit in November to learn lessons from the global financial crisis and rebuild a "regulated capitalism."
In a hardhitting speech about capitalist excesses before the UN General Assembly on behalf of the 27-member European Union, Sarkozy also appealed for a "continent-wide economic space" between Europe and Russia.
His remarks followed those of US President George W. Bush who promised leaders fearful of a global economic meltdown that Washington would implement a financial bailout package "in the urgent timeframe required."
Sarkozy told world leaders gathered here it is time for them to learn lessons from the global financial crisis, rebuild a system that regulates the markets, curb speculation, increases transparency and punishes the reckless.
"It's the duty of heads of state and government of the countries most directly concerned to meet before the end of the year to examine together the lessons of the most serious financial crisis the world has experienced since that of the 1930s," Sarkozy told fellow world leaders.
"Let us rebuild together a regulated capitalism in which whole swathes of financial activity are not left to the sole judgment of market operators, in which banks do their job, which is to finance economic development rather than engage in speculation," Sarkozy said.
Speaking in French through an interpreter, Sarkozy called for "rules that apply to all and serve to avert and soften shocks instead of exacerbating them."
He appealed for curbs on credit agencies where there is greater transparency in transactions, a reward system that does "not drive people to take unreasonable risks, and where "those who jeapardize people's savings are punished."
In a press conference afterward, Sarkozy said the summit should be in November based "on the format of the G8," the Group of Eight leading industrial countries, "but with the possibly of opening this to emerging countries."
The G8 is made up of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia.
He chose November "so it's not a meeting in the heat of the crisis but at the same time it will come before the end of the year so we can draw on the consequences," he said.
He also spoke of a capitalism gone unhinged.
"It started with hedge funds," in which loans were made "without any concern for creating value," he told reporters at the UN building along Hudson River in New York City.
He slammed the method of corporate bonuses.
"The system of remuneration is completely cut off from market indicators," Sarkozy said. "How can you explain that they're only responsible for success and not for failure?"
He also called for closer economic links between Europe and Russia, but stood up for Georgia over the Russian military incursion last month which Moscow said was to defend Russian citizens.
"What Europe is telling Russia is that we want links with Russia, that we want to build a shared future with Russia, we want to be Russia's partner," Sarkozy said, according to an official translation.
"Why not build a continent-wide economic space which would unite Russia and Europe?" he asked.
"But Europe is also telling Russia with the same sincerity that it cannot compromise on the principle of states' sovereignty and independence, their territorial integrity, or respect for international law," he said.
"Europe's message to all states is that it cannot accept the use of force to settle a dispute.

Date created : 2008-09-23