Cast your mind back to the G20 meeting in London earlier this year, when Nicholas Sarkozy’s dummy was hurled as far from his pram as it would go.
You may recall that he threatened to walk out of the meeting unless there was an agreement to hit the activities of the hedge and private equity fund businesses.
Nick was joined in his ire by Angela Merkel.
But the odd thing is this: no one seemed to think it was hedge funds or private equity which caused the economic crisis in the first place.
It was almost like a cultural clash, and to the other side of the divide it did smack a little bit of Anglo-Saxon bashing. So no one thought the industry was to blame for the crisis. The industry was centred in the City of London, but even so the French and Germans wanted to hit it hard.
But now it seems London has found a new ally.
Recently, the German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck laid into the British government. “At times I see a great deal of resistance to regulatory measures in regard to what matters to the City of London and the British government,” and “The interests of the City of London are practically implemented, practically aligned with the policy interests of the British government.”
He reckons the City just wants to go back to how things used to be. “They have a restoration in mind,” he said “to recreate as far as possible the old state of things.”
Then yesterday he was joined by his boss Angela, who said: “We observe … there is some resistance to pushing through further regulation at the very moment when banks are sensing some improvement in the situation.”
Speaking at the German lower house of parliament, she said: “We will insist that we get a new set of rules for the financial markets so that such a crisis is never repeated.”
Ummm, so who do you think she had in mind?
But then again, Sweden has just taken on the EU presidency. And the country’s Financial Markets Minister, Mats Odell, seems to disagree.
Reuters reported him as saying: “I believe there is an exaggerated view in some countries that private equity and hedge funds helped pull us into the crisis… Our view is that these sectors must be regulated but I would point out that it’s important that it’s done in a way that lets them continue to play a role and contribute to the welfare of the European Union.”
© Investment & Business News 2013