United Kingdom

Return of the state

Print edition : March 21, 2014

Britain's Labour Party leader Ed Miliband delivers a speech at a university in central London on January 17. Britain's five largest banks will have to shrink and sell off branches in order to improve competition if Labour wins the next election, he announced, spelling out his agenda for financial reform. Photo: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

Banks are under pressure to perform. On February 10, Barclays unveiled mixed annual earnings. The British bank seeks to fend off fresh financial strains following the Libor rate-rigging scandal. Here, a woman using an ATM machine outside a Barclays bank branch in central London. Photo: ANDREW COWIE/AFP

The traditional hands-off approach to the free market economy in Europe is giving way to state activism on a scale that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
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