Monitor; All the News of the World: The French press reflects on the battle for control of the nation's leading banks

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The Independent Culture
THIS IS the first time in France that a major restructuring has been performed in front of the world's gaze. The clash of two distinctive corporate projects - the creation of a European Investment bank (SG-Parisbas) and that of a bank with global significance (BNP-SG and Parisian) has caused a war of personality and words. Some years ago this would have occurred in secret closed-door deals involving cabinet ministers and industrialists. People, paradoxically from both the left and the right, view this with nostalgia but one should only look to the scandals buffeting Credit Lyonnais to realise that the mixing of public and private interests have considerable costs. At least nowadays these deals have a greater deal of transparency. If one is to regret something, then it must be that the weight of the French electorate is so weak and that of the foreigners so heavy.

Le Monde

THE NATURE of the take-over has embroiled the state, which has become the only go-between in this, the longest and mostly costly financial battle of the century. This leaves both Jospin and Strauss-Kahn with the job of untangling the mess. The deal comprises a crucial sector of the French economy judged in terms of jobs and stock-market value. Furthermore, their personnel reputations are on the line if the deal sours further. Attempting to avoid alienating the French electors, who hate the impression of disorder and political impotence, will also be high on the agenda. (Gerard Dupuy)


IT IS necessary to look at things in a different way in order to get a clearer view of the banking sector. Start by looking at the extensive changes which have happened to share offers among banks throughout Europe. No matter what the business dealings, one cannot put a bank out to pasture. The restructuring of the French banking system has come about by exposure to foreign control. But the minister can comfort himself to see the "reinforced national base of our financial sector, whatever its status, public or private, mutualised or not". (Christophe Auxerre)