LONDON — After playing a key role in responding to the global banking crisis, European leaders head to Washington for a big global financial summit later this week with newfound confidence in their dealings with the United States, a vague set of principles and only a few specific reforms in their briefcases. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has publicly criticized U.S. officials for financial decisions such as letting Lehman Brothers fail, hopes the summit will secure his legacy as an influential player on the world stage before France hands off the rotating European Union presidency to the Czech Republic in January.
Last week, he called for a follow-up to the two-day Washington summit, which begins Friday, within 100 days. But experts say reform of global financial regulation will be neither quick nor easy due to the complexity of the issues, the number of global players with a stake in the process, and the change of administrations in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama has said he won't attend. Sarkozy and European leaders would like to build on the momentum they gained in crafting bank-bailout programs that served as models for U.S. reforms. But the four principles on which they agreed are vague, due to the difficulty in melding the positions of France and other countries that seek tight regulation, with that of Britain, which wants to avoid unduly restrictive positions.
The four principles:
- No financial institution, no market segment and no jurisdiction must escape proportionate and adequate regulation or at least oversight