“I’ve just come back from London, where I convinced foreign investors of the advantages of setting up a business here; at the same time, Mr Coene succeeds in raising concerns,” Peeters told the VRT. “In hard times, the National Bank should be a pillar of strength.”
Peeters also criticised Coene for going to the media rather than advising the government. “He can and should warn the government against hard times, but putting the pressure on the ministers through the media is way out of line.”
Federal budget minister Johan Vande Lanotte agreed. “It’s a bit strange that a deputy prime minister should learn this kind of thing from the media,” he said.
Coene’s interview also included a prediction that Dexia would require a new injection of government aid in the short term. “I’ve made it perfectly clear that they needn’t come knocking on our door,” Peeters said. Flanders has already taken on the weight of the debts of the Municipal Holding, and Peeters’ proposal for the nationalisation of Dexia had been rejected by then-finance minister Didier Reynders, he said. “It goes without saying that Flanders is not prepared now to add anything to the Dexia money-hole.”