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BSA conference: Europe treaty will fail, says Darling

The European fiscal stability pact is akin to the Treaty of Versailles and will not work says former chancellor Alastair Darling.

Speaking to the Building Societies Association conference in Manchester today, Darling said the pact is not working because it offers so little hope to people.

Over the weekend Francois Hollande was elected president of France on an anti-austerity message while the Greek election saw more than half of voters opting for parties that oppose its bailout agreements.

Darling said: “The Eurozone plan for Greece was always doomed because it was never going to work. It left Greece with a 120% debt in 2020 so it wasn’t credible.

“The other issue that was all too foreseeable is that if you push countries to a situation where they have no hope and no light at the end of the tunnel then the electoral results in Greece are not unexpected.

“People will turn to simplistic and sometimes downright nasty solutions. What Greece needs is a credible plan to recovery and light at the end of the tunnel.

“The European treaty has the same foresight as the Treaty of Versailles where you institutionalise a downward spiral. The day it signed it Spain said it could not meet its target and the Netherlands government has fallen because of it. It doesn’t seem that it is going to work.”


Insurers could cut annuity quote guarantee periods ahead of gender deadline

Pensions providers are considering slashing annuity quote guarantee periods ahead of the implementation of European rules which will ban gender pricing in insurance contracts. In March last year, the European Court of Justice ruled gender pricing for insurance products will be banned from December 21, 2012. The ruling, based on a challenge by Belgian consumer […]


Wheatley warns building societies over risk

Financial Conduct Authority chief executive designate Martin Wheatley has warned building societies not to assume a mutual structure means there is less risk of consumer detriment. Speaking at the Building Societies Association’s annual conference in Manchester yesterday, Wheatley (pictured) said it would be a mistake for building societies to believe they are immune from the […]


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  1. Julian Stevens 9th May 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Yeah, well, if a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels hadn’t conceived the crazy pie-in-the-sky fantasy that Europe could be unified and made stronger by lending without collateral hundreds of billions of euros of other peoples’ money to a wildly disparate assortment of countries with proven track records of economic incompetence and lack of fiscal discipline, the EuroZone wouldn’t be in the mess it is now.

    Only Germany benefitted, because it was at the heart of the whole thing, followed by the UK which wisely stayed well out of it. But we, of course, have our own problems because nobody regulated the banks, who duly lent out money like confetti and spent billions on toxic mortgage debt packages from the US. Hector, for his part, confesses now that he ought to have shouted a little louder about his concerns. Don’t you just love it? You couldn’t bloody make it up.

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