Government holds hand up to banks

The government parties agree that the banks should be asked for a contribution to help pick up the slack in the budget. The inner cabinet has decided this. PM Herman Van Rompuy (Flemish Christian democrat) also agrees that this would be a fair arrangement.
In an interview PM Herman Van Rompuy said that he was definitely in favour of asking the banks to make an effort to help keep the budget deficit down. "Everyone has to make a contribution, the financial institutions included, though of course we do not intend to cripple them financially."
Vice PM and Budget Minister Guy Vanhengel (Flemish liberal) talks about ‘bank solidarity’. "The tax payers were asked to have solidarity with the banks the end of last year. It is not abnormal that now the government finances are coming under pressure that we in turn ask for the same solidarity from a number of sectors that benefitted and are now recovering."

The Flemish Christian democrats think that the banks should pay a 'reasonable' amount. One condition is that the banks should not be straitjacketed so soon after the crisis. After the government helped bail them out it would be foolish to bring them to their knees again, is the general opinion.

Yesterday Francophone socialist party vice PM Laurette Onkelinx said that the banks must contribute to the budget. According to her the big financial crisis was in large-part due to the banks themselves. Rather than having to make cuts in social services or benefits, she thinks it would only be fair for the banks to step in and help keep the budget deficit down, now that many of them are again making profits.

Most of the government parties also think that the electricity sector should make a contribution if they want the nuclear power stations to stay open longer than the planned closure.

“The banks' bonus system is criminal”

"The bonus system used in the financial world is criminal.”

This quotation comes from none less than former CEO of Fortis Karel De Boeck (photo). Mr De Boeck says that the bonus system needs urgent revision.

According to the former Fortis CEO some banks spend more on bonuses then the amount that remains in the bank.

EU seeks to coordinate position on bonuses and the way out of the financial crisis

Some European countries are making a concerted push to put the issue of bankers’ pay and bonuses at the top of the agenda for a meeting of financial officials from the Group of 20 nations. Belgium along with Germany, France and the UK are strongly vying for an agreement to curb bankers’ bonuses.

European Union leaders will hold an extra meeting to discuss bonuses and the global financial crisis ahead of the G-20 summit in the U.S. later this month.

Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said the talks in Brussels on Sept. 17 will focus on coordinating the 27-member bloc's position for the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh a week later.

The EU meeting will also address ways to pull the EU out of its deep economic slump and efforts to reach a new global climate change pact.