Germany joins attack on ratings agencies
Let's set up rivals, urges German foreign minister as he offers an olive branch to London
The German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, launched a renewed drive yesterday to break the stranglehold of the US credit rating agencies on the global finance system.
"It's high time we found an independent European rating agency," he told journalists in a meeting in London, indicating he was strongly dissatisfied with the recent performance of US firms Standard & Poor's and Moody's.
On 5 December, Standard & Poor's said it was putting almost all the eurozone countries on "credit watch".
The six eurozone countries with an AAA rating – Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Austria and Luxembourg – now face a 50 per cent chance of losing that coveted status within the next two months.
France is expected to be stripped of its AAA rating by S&P within days. Last week, Moody's also said it intends to review all EU states in the first three months of 2012 and criticised the "continued absence of decisive policy measures" to solve the eurozone crisis.
Mr Westerwelle, who was in London to offer the UK an olive branch after the 9 December summit left Britain isolated in the EU, also stressed European governments have no plans to undermine the UK's financial services industry.
"We have no intention to weaken the City," he said when asked about David Cameron's failed attempt in Brussels to secure special protection for the Square Mile from EU regulation.
He said he hoped to bring Britain back into the EU fold and the UK's "observer status", while the rest of Europe pushes ahead with a new "fiscal compact", could be the prelude to closer alignment.
Mr Westerwelle also suggested the British and German governments agree on the broad solution to the debt crisis.
"We can't solve a debt crisis by making it easier to take on new debts," he said.
- 1 JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
JK Rowling horrified by Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis's raunchy photoshoot
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
The biggest ranch in America, larger than the whole of London, has gone on sale for $725m
Melissa McCarthy's brilliant response to one sexist question posed to her on the red carpet by a male reporter
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Labour leadership: Battle lines are drawn as members battle over party's ideology at first hustings of the contest
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...