Earlier, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for more efforts to be made so as to “strengthen the autonomy and sovereignty of Europe in trade, economic and financial policies.”
Germany and France are currently cooperating on the creation of a European financing mechanism so as to sidestep US sanctions against a number of countries, including Iran, and bolster Europe’s “sovereignty,” according to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
“With Germany, we are determined to work on an independent European or Franco-German financing tool which would allow us to avoid being the collateral victims of US extraterritorial sanctions,” Le Maire said during a meeting with the press association AJEF.
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He added that he would like Europe “to be a sovereign continent not a vassal, and that means having totally independent financing instruments that do not today exist.”
“If we want to build a truly independent instrument, we must open up all the options,” Le Maire stressed, referring to French and German governments holding talks on the matter with their central banks.
The statement came a day after German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Europe to respond to the US’s “random and non-specific sanctions” against Russia, China, Turkey and other “important” trading partners of the EU.
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He admitted that strengthening “the autonomy and sovereignty of Europe in trade, economic and financial policies” will be a tricky task, but added that “we have already begun to do it.”
“We are working on proposals pertaining to […] payment channels and creating a payment system independent of SWIFT to establish a European currency fund, Maas underlined.
Earlier, he pointed out in an article published by the German business newspaper Handelsblatt that if Europe wants to save the Iran nuclear agreement, it should review its partnership with the US and create an EU payment system to serve as a “counterweight” to the US, whenever Washington “crosses red lines.”
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His remarks came after the EU pledged to counter renewed US sanctions on Tehran, scrambling to persuade the Islamic Republic to adhere to the terms of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was abandoned by Washington in early May.
Earlier, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier claimed that the Trump administration “perceives Europe not as a part of a world community within which countries cooperate, but rather as an arena where every country has to find its way around.”
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He praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for doing “the right thing in Washington,” since they pointed at European interests not only in the sphere of trade, but also stressed the necessity to preserve the JCPOA.
President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, vowing to impose the “highest level” of sanctions on the Islamic Republic and threatening to slap sanctions on European companies that continue doing business with Tehran.