Nicolas Sarkozy has made it perfectly clear that, if the outcome of London's G20 summit is not acceptable, he will simply get up and leave. "The crisis is too serious to permit having a summit meeting for nothing." Sarkozy is insisting, above all, on the installation of regulatory procedures in the international financial domain. This desire for regulations is shared by the German chancellor Angela Merkel, and also by the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, who declared: "One of the goals, accepted at Washington, is that no institution or major financial entity should remain beyond control and supervision. That is what I hope to see confirmed and consolidated in London."
Furthermore, as France's minister of Finance Christine Lagarde has pointed out, the French president is adamant that tax havens throughout the world must be eradicated. The latest rumors, expressed on French TV this evening, are optimistic, in the sense that Britain's prime minister Gordon Brown has echoed Sarkozy's belief that tax havens should cease to exist in the modern world. The big question, of course, is whether Barack Obama will be prepared to acknowledge the priority of these European themes.
In France, current events have caught up with the G20 syndrome. It was revealed today that several large French corporations appear to have been using a bank in Liechtenstein to whitewash money that should have normally been declared in France as taxable profits. In this context, news broadcasts in France today evoked the whistleblower, Heinrich Kieber, who was responsible for unleashing a planetary affair by revealing the identity of tax fraudsters in the above-mentioned bank. For the last twelve months, there has been a persistent rumor, aired once again today on French TV, that this wealthy gentleman—formerly a skilled data-processing professional—has ended up in a luxury hideout, under an assumed identity, down in a big sunburned country in the Southern Hemisphere.