EU finance chiefs still see no end in sight to crisis

NICE, September 14, 2008 (AFP) – The crisis roiling the financial sector will probably grind on for some time, but European banks should be able to avert serious trouble, EU finance chiefs said.

US investment bank Lehman Brothers’ fight for its very survival over the weekend highlighted just how fragile the sector remains more than one year after the crisis first broke.

“Everybody who was saying for the last few weeks that the light was at the end of the tunnel have had the surprise of finding a locomotive bearing down on them,” said German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck on Saturday.

With no end in sight to the crisis, the stability of the financial sector figured high on the agenda of a two-day meeting of EU finance ministers and central bankers in the French Riviera city of Nice.

“This financial crisis will be on our agenda for a great number of months to come,” Luxembourg Finance Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday after the ministers debated Europe’s preparations for banking sector turbulence.

“I am really convinced that we are not at the end of the financial crisis,” said Juncker, who chairs the Eurogroup of finance ministers from the 15 euro countries and