Finance Watch

Looking back at 2018 – A message from our Secretary General

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Finance Watch wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

For ten years now, citizens have been paying the real costs of the 2008 financial crisis: lost growth, lost jobs, higher public debt, and all the consequences these have on our democracies, societies and the lives of the poorest.

It is this unaccounted price of deregulation that I believe brings all of us together in our aim to take back control of the financial system and build a positive alternative to the dark narratives that political extremists always seem to offer after a financial crisis. It is great to see that more and more are joining us in this fight; this is my personal highlight in 2018!

I am proud of everything the Finance Watch team has achieved this year together with our members, supporters, partners, followers and friends. Here are a few highlights:

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis, we produced an analysis of post-crisis regulation “Back to Business as Usual” showing where the most dangerous gaps are. We also published some short animations to explain in a less technical, more humorous way that the opportunity for a fundamental realignment of the global financial sector has been missed.

Together with the #ChangeFinance coalition, we co-created a global “10 Years On” campaign featuring 136 actions and events in 18 countries organised by civil society organizations and activists. Finance Watch has convened this coalition by hosting weekly calls, helping to establish a common list of demands to reform finance and launching a Change Finance website that shows the link between finance and people’s life.

The tenth anniversary of the crisis offered us many opportunities to push our messages through the media, such as the German news show ARD Tagesthemen (starting 00h17min), the Belgian radio La Premiere RTBF and the Spanish newspaper El Economista. In total, we had more than 150 articles and broadcasts in the European media this year. One of the main topics was Sustainable Finance. Our experts gave interviews for AGEFI TV, DW TV, in the Triodos magazine “La couleur de l’argent” and many more.

Our brand-new Finance Watch website which was also launched in September this year gives accessible explanations to citizens and technical arguments to experts about how our financial system needs to be reformed (and certainly not deregulated again).

On the website, you can find all 21 policy papers produced by our experts in 2018 on hot topics like FinTech, non-performing loans, sustainable finance, pensions, remittances, financial supervision and trade agreements, amongst others.

Our experts also defended the public interest in stakeholders and technical expert groups of the financial supervisory authorities (ESMA, EBA, EIOPA). This year, we were especially delighted to be appointed as a member of the European Commission’s new technical expert group on Sustainable Finance.

We organised a dozen events throughout the year, including one on Ethical Banking as well as the second “Change Finance Forum” on 6 and 7 December, which brought together more than 200 participants from civil society organisations, activists, academics, experts and engaged citizens, and is establishing itself as an important annual event in the civil society calendar.

More than 20 new Members joined Finance Watch during the year, including individual experts from Sweden, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium and the UK as well as 11 associations from the former European Financial Inclusion Network (EFIN) who bring the perspective of the least well-off to our association.

With the creation of the German citizens’ movement “Finanzwende – Finance Watch Deutschland”, we are extremely happy to see the international Finance Watch network engaging more citizens through campaigns on national topics.

We are also proud to have participated in the creation of an educational report and a citizens’ mobilisation platform (in English and French) to show how and why we need to make finance serve the general interest, published by our member Caritas France. It is an important milestone for us to see how we can help non-specialist civil society organisations to take on questions of finance.

All this is only possible thanks to your belief and support for our mission to make finance service society. Mainstream finance won’t reform itself!

That is why I want to ask you to consider setting up a small, monthly donation to support Finance Watch’s work. Regular monthly donations are crucial for Finance Watch to make plans for the future. Even a small commitment can make a big difference to us. So if you can afford to, please set up your donation now:

Yes, I donate now

Thank you for your support. I wish you a happy 2019!

Benoît Lallemand and the Finance Watch Team

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