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Round Table in Düsseldorf with Sven Giegold

Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesman of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen: “Regulate, don’t bureaucratize!”

With another web conference, zeb continued its Financial Market Roundtable series, in which renowned representatives from politics and financial institutions discuss the latest fiscal issues with a small, selected group of participants. Regarding the recovery of the European economy, the financial and economic policy spokesman of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and long-standing MEP Sven Giegold pointed out the crucial importance of banks providing the necessary loans to companies. It had to be ensured that the relief granted would also benefit the financing of the real economy. Experience from previous crises, however, had shown that capital relief for banks alone would not prevent a credit crunch. For some years now, the lessons of the financial crisis were increasingly sinking into oblivion. According to Giegold, Europe needed regulation of the financial markets that actually regulated instead of further bureaucratizing them.

On the subject of state aid, the financial expert of the Greens warned against a blank check for banks, which would not be in line with state aid law either. It could not be ruled out that in the event of a worsening of the coronavirus crisis, a state might also have to help banks on individual occasions, but this would have to be examined carefully for each specific case. Banks in Italy and Greece, in particular, were extremely crisis-prone. The bad loans from the financial crisis still included in their balance sheets ran into the billions. The Greens’ financial policy expert justified the action plan for a sustainable financial system adopted by the European Union by stating that billions in assets were still invested in unsustainable areas. Sooner or later, politicians would follow through with the economy’s ecological transformation. Then these assets would be under serious threat of extreme devaluation. The sector had to be prepared for this and every investor should be prepared for this, too. With regard to money laundering, Giegold appreciated the courageous steps taken by the European Commission to combat it. However, he did not support the idea of developing the EBA into the new European anti-money laundering agency. “Financial crime goes far beyond banking,” Giegold said, arguing for a new authority with powers in all areas.
With a view to the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union beginning on July 1, 2020, the Greens politician described Chancellor Merkel’s government statement as disappointing and rather unambitious in terms of climate protection. According to Giegold, the climate crisis did not take a coronavirus break. The adoption of the climate law was time-critical, he said, as it constituted the climate compass for all further EU legislation. The climate law made climate protection a binding guideline for European policy. It would be insufficient if the German Federal Government only aimed at a common EU climate protection position in the Council. “Europe can only raise its climate target for 2030 if Germany raises it too,” Giegold demanded, and he hoped for an important signal, in concrete terms Germany’s announcement of an increased climate target for 2030 at the beginning of its Council Presidency.