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Reforms need global consensus, UK finance minister tells FRANCE 24

Speaking to FRANCE 24 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the UK chancellor of the exchequer, Alistair Darling, said international agreements are paramount if banking reforms are to be successful.

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The UK chancellor of the exchequer, Alistair Darling, has said that international agreements are a condition for successful banking reform. In an interview with France 24’s Raphael Kahn, the British treasury chief stressed that to resolve the financial crisis, international cooperation and sufficient capital for banks are more important than limiting the scope of their activities.

"What I want above all is international agreement," he said. "I don't think that you can have agreements like this that apply only to one country or only in one place. That's why achieving international agreement is so important."

US President Barack Obama last week laid out proposals that would limit the activities commercial banks and financial institutions could engage in. Obama also said he would seek to curb the size of any one financial firm in relation to the entire sector.

The initiative prompted an urgent call from presidents, prime ministers and central bank chiefs at the World Economic Forum for new regulations coordinated on an international level. But some leaders, such as Darling, hesitated to put an accent on limiting the scope of the financial institutions.

“It was the interconnections between the banks, and their failure to understand the consequences, that started the problem. You need a strong regulatory system, you need more capital, but above all what you need is a global agreement,” Darling insisted.

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