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Sarkozy defends reforms at home as global financial storm rages

Text by Marie Sophie JOUBERT

Latest update : 2008-10-24

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to make the case for continuing his government's programme of economic reforms in a major address in Toulon. WATCH OUR LIVE COVERAGE AT 6:30pm (GMT+2).

On the eve of the French government’s presentation of its next fiscal budget, President Nicolas Sarkozy will address the country from the city of Toulon on the subject of the international financial crisis –a matter of great concern to his citizens.

 

His speech will likely echo his call for rebuilding a ‘regulated capitalism’, which he spoke about last Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly gathered in New York.

 

At one of his press conferences, the French president, who currently heading up the European Union, also suggested that world leaders meet in November to discuss what “lessons have been learned” from the current situation.

 

A massive enterprise

 

Douglas Herbert, FRANCE 24’s business editor, says the whole of the international community is looking for answers to the crisis that has rocked the world’s financial system, and, along with France, has called for a better regulation of the markets, “to prevent further abuses.” “European leaders, especially in Berlin, are calling for greater regulation of what they see as runaway capitalism that has aggravated Europe’s problems,” says Herbert.

 

The harsh words for business may translate to the implementation of numerous changes, principal among them being better transparency of financial products,greater capital reserves in banks and harmonizing of countries’ legislation.

 

In short, a massive enterprise for world leaders. The priority, however, remains to work as quickly as possible to undo the wrongs committed in order to prevent the market’s illnesses from spreading.    

 

Bailing out a sinking ship

 

Since Saturday, the U.S. Congress has debated a rescue plan for Wall Street and the slowing economy, which could reach the sum of $700 billion. It is a proposal that may put some new winds into the sagging sails of the economic system, but which is suggesting no changes to its practices.

 

“We need to clear the bottleneck and restore confidence, but we shouldn’t stop there,” explains Eric Tille, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

 

However he is quick to note that “we cannot start from zero.”  For Tille, the financial system needs the right fix for each particular problem. “As long as it is driveable, who cares if a car has four doors with four different colours?” says the professor.

Date created : 2008-09-25

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