Idea of euro protection bid 'sinister and silly'
Published 19/03/2010 | 05:00
GERMANY'S suggestion that it may order spies to track speculators targeting currencies is "sinister and silly", according to analysts, who said hedge funds in London and New York would be the targets.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the Bundestag on Tuesday that the country may have to consider ordering "intelligence agencies to set up surveillance of who is getting together with whom for which kinds of speculative processes, and where" to protect the euro.
"I find it sinister and silly; it is a complete overreaction," said Philip Whyte of the Centre for European Reform, a pro-European Union research institute in London.
"There is a certain school of thought in continental Europe that everything is always the fault of hedge funds." Schaeuble's comments reflected "a long-standing paranoia about the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism", he said.
European politicians blamed speculators after the euro tumbled against the dollar and the cost of insuring Greek government debt rose by a third this year, causing budget cuts that triggered street protests in Athens. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that trading in credit default swaps exacerbated the crisis.
Schaeuble said that "speculation is increasingly targeting currencies and countries." His comments followed a report in Spain's 'El Pais' newspaper last month that the secret service was investigating "attacks" on the country. (Bloomberg)