Banker's 600,000 euro bonus slammed

Belgian trades unions have given a furious reaction to the news that Pierre Mariani, the chief executive of the Dexia bank, is to receive a bonus of 600,000 euros in recognition of his achievements in 2010.

Dexia is one of the Belgian high street banks that needed support from the Belgian taxpayer at the height of the global financial crisis.

Stefaan Decock of the Christian union ACV believes that such bonuses are dangerous because they encourage bankers to take ever greater risks. The trades unionist explains that it is exactly such risks that triggered the global financial crisis:

"The bonus culture is in itself is perverse because it constantly encourages people to achieve short term goals, while we really require sustainable results for the long term. It is also in this respect that people should be evaluated. We want this to be the approach across all levels of such companies. We want people to distance themselves from enormous bonuses and to say goodbye to this bonus culture."

Dexia President and former Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene defended the payment saying that it had been made last year too and that this had not caused any problems then.

The Flemish socialists have also attacked the payment saying that it is indecent, while the Flemish greens speak of "egotistical and unworldly banks".