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Pope: Nations too soft on banks

2010-05-22 22:32

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday singled out for criticism governments that have failed to put stringent measures in place to regulate banks and the markets in the wake of the financial crisis.

Some heads of state "do not react with the appropriate decisions on the governance of finance when faced with renewed episodes of irresponsible speculation directed towards weaker countries," the pope said.

In recent weeks, European governments have scrambled to agree on how to prop up investor confidence in weaker eurozone economies after the Greek debt crisis put the country on the brink of default.

Meanwhile, United States President Barack Obama is pushing through congress a major overhaul of financial sector regulation following the 2008-2009 meltdown.

"Politics needs to have primacy over finance, and morality needs to guide every activity," Benedict told a conference at the Vatican.

In a 2009 encyclical, Benedict called for the establishment of a new global agency "with real teeth" to restore the global economy.

"The crisis... is in large part caused by the lack of trust and of an appropriate creative and dynamic solidarity impulse aimed at the common good," the pope said.