VIENNA Oct 21 Europe's financial elite quietly
gathered at a posh Vienna hotel on Friday ahead of crucial
European Union talks that could reshape the continent's
financial sector landscape.
Members of the secretive Institut International d'Etudes
Bancaires (IIEB), which groups the chairmen and chief executives
of Europe's top finance houses, gathered in a swanky conference
room at the Hotel Imperial near the Vienna opera house.
Josef Ackermann, the Deutsche Bank CEO and head
of the Institute for International Finance banking lobby,
appeared in the lobby after more than three hours of talks and
declined to say what his colleagues had discussed.
He said it "wouldn't be fair" to disclose what the finance
executives had discussed ahead of EU meetings in Brussels on how
to address the euro zone's debt crisis, Greece's increasingly
precarious finances and steps to shore up bank balance sheets.
More than two dozen nameplates arranged for the meeting in
the gilded hall included those for Credit Suisse
Chairman Urs Rohner, Commerzbank Chief Executive
Martin Blessing and UniCredit Chief Executive Federico
One financial source said the meeting had been long planned.
The IIEB normally meets in October.
It came as 10 top European financial institutions asked the
European Financial Stability Facility bailout fund for
struggling euro zone members to back a proposal that the EFSF
partially insure eurozone sovereign bonds.