• Germany's news in English

Steinbrück says bankers should pay for crisis

AFP · 31 Aug 2009, 15:40

Published: 31 Aug 2009 15:40 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"The broad majority of our citizens who are not among those responsible for the crisis – now face enormous financial burdens," Peer Steinbrück said in the letter dated August 27.

"It is therefore of central importance that we arrive at a fair distribution of the burdens arising from the crisis and, in particular, that we enlist those who triggered the crisis in the financing of these burdens as well," he said.

"I would like to discuss with you how we can bring the financial markets to make a greater, internationally coordinated contribution to financing the immense burdens of the crisis."

Steinbrück also said that he wants the G20, whose leaders are to meet for a summit in the US city of Pittsburgh on September 24-25, to take a "global approach" to do more to keep a lid on bankers' bonuses.

"Excessive bonus payments, of the type that we have again seen recently, make it very plain that we need to take action," he said. "These payments can scarcely be defended at a time when the financial system through the world has only survived thanks to huge levels of government support."

He called for a cap on the share of bonuses in bankers' pay packages, for stock options to be held for a minimum of four years, for a clear link between the pay of top management and a firm's performance and for salaries to be published.

The issue of bonuses was expected to come up in talks later on Monday in Berlin between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy, who has sought to position himself as a champion of financial regulation, said last week he would propose in Pittsburgh "a strengthening of sanctions towards banks that do not play by the rules."

Last week Merkel said that she "of course" agreed with Sarkozy's proposals, saying she was "angry that some banks are starting over again just like before."

"This presents risks and this is why we should consider how we can intervene and limit" the bonuses, Merkel added, saying the issue would be a "central theme" in Pittsburgh.

Steinbrück also called on finance ministers to discuss international rules to facilitate the insolvency and liquidation of large banks in the event of another crisis.

He also said he would press for better international coordination on "exit strategies" from the massive stimulus efforts unrolled by governments around the world in order to avoid damaging inflationary effects in the longer term.

Story continues below…

Steinbrück said as well that the G20 should also work towards a "clear and binding commitment" to reduce the huge deficits that have been built up in fighting the global recession.

He said efforts to reform financial regulation following G20 summits in Washington in November and in London in April were "encouraging" so far, for instance with closer supervision of rating agencies and hedge funds.

But he warned: "Now we must continue resolutely down this path, together resisting the temptation to return to business as usual at the first faint signs of recovery."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd