France’s Lagarde says solid bonus limits needed

September 17, 2009

French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde speaks during a news conference in Riyadh, May 10, 2009. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed  (SAUDI ARABIA POLITICS)    PARIS, Sept 17 (Reuters) – France will not push for specific caps on bankers’ bonuses at next week’s meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 nations but wants clear restrictions, Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said in an interview on Thursday.
    “We’re not so narrow-minded to the point that we want a number,” Lagarde said in an interview in the Wall Street Journal. “But we want something that can be nailed down to solid parameters … something that effectively limits and frames compensation,” she said.
   The issue of bonuses is expected to be one of the toughest on the agenda at next week’s G20 meeting in Pittsburgh with clear differences between the United States and Europe.
   The European Union must act alone on the issue if necessary and shouldn’t be deterred if the United States won’t join them in their drive against excessive bonuses, the chairman of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, told Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday. [ID:nLH721950]
   France has been one of the most vocal advocates of  restrictions to bank bonuses in response to public outrage over huge payouts at a time when the financial sector is still propped up by massive amounts of taxpayers’ money.
   President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed tough restrictions that could include caps on the size of individual bonuses but the United States and Britain have been reticent.
   Several other options have also been put forward, including a proposal from the Financial Stability Board to set restrictions on the total amount banks with low levels of capital can pay out in bonuses. (Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Ruth Pitchford) ((Reuters Messaging, Paris Newsroom +33 1 4949 5339;
 Keywords: G20/FRANCE
Thursday, 17 September 2009 08:28:59RTRS [nLH433626 ] {C}ENDS

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